Do Salads Leave You Hungry?

“I’m so healthy–I eat a salad every day for lunch,” said Tracy, one of my newer clients.

“But,” she quickly added, “I can’t stop snacking in the afternoon. At 4:00 I tend to inhale the leftover bagels from the breakfast meetings.”

Salads are certainly healthy meals, especially if you can add some dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale. According to Chinese medicine, leafy greens help clean the blood, and since the blood pulsates through our whole body, that is a very good thing. My personal favorite reason for eating greens is that they help lift my mood. The world always appears to be a lighter, happier place after I eat a large and satisfying meal of dark, leafy greens.

But for many of us, a salad simply doesn’t cut it. If you are a salad eater who loses focus, gets sleepy, and craves sugar, this is for you. Of course, this is not the rule across the board, but many people need to have three components in their salads in order to feel satisfied and “full”: healthy protein, good fat and a whole-grain complex carbohydrate, bean or legume.

Here are some suggestions to make your next salad more satisfying:

1. Add good fats: olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts. Fats make food actually taste good and alert your body that you are eating. They also make you feel fuller, longer and keep your blood sugar levels stable, so you can think properly during that 4:00 meeting.

2. Add enough healthy protein: quinoa (yes, it’s a complete protein!), lentils, and  beans. If you are someone who gets incredibly hungry one hour after eating a salad then you may need to add two servings of protein. Play with your salads and see what your body likes best.

3. Add a whole-grain complex carbohydrate: This part is tricky. Often the only really healthy complex carbohydrates are beans and legumes. These are a great addition to a salad. But if you feel like you need more, then keep a stash of sprouted crackers or pita breads at your desk to munch on with your salad. Just make sure the first ingredient on the list says 100% whole-grain. No enrichment or partially hydrogenated oils allowed.

Here are the ingredients for my favorite filling salad (you can mix-n-match the ingredients~I just throw in whatever I have at the time):

Lisa’s Filling Salad Recipe
1 large bowl of mixed greens
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped

1  lemon cut in half crosswise

1/3 cup almond oil

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped

1 large handful chopped raw almonds

1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseed

1  handful of dulse, rinsed (dulse is a yummy seaweed)

Sea salt (as needed)

In a large bowl,  add the greens and herbs.  Squeeze the citrus juices over the greens, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.  Toss well.  Add the avocado, nuts, flaxseed, and dulse and toss gently to combine.

Serves 1.

What suggestion will you try? How about my filling salad? I would love to hear about all the “green” ideas you have, so leave your message below.  Big “green” love to you!

15 Comments on “Do Salads Leave You Hungry?”

  1. Thanks for this post! I love eating salads for lunch but they are getting boring lately! I needed this!

    1. Kate, my love! I actually use this formula for my salads. I didn’t have an avocado yesterday, so the one above was without. Need my healthy fats! Let me know your concoction. You always come up with delicious ideas! xo

      1. Ok new concoction I came up w/ this week! I’ve been doing a lot of Yoga…well I always do that so I’m quite hungry in the am and I have been taking a pitta and cutting it in half(just using half) then I cut the half open and put either some Dijon mustard on it or some organic veganeise(sp) then I put some spinach lettuce on it(sprouts would be good too), then a cut up hard boiled egg or an avocado and put that on top, then top it all off w/ some celtic sea salt and ground pepper! Today I did avocado. It really tides me over until lunch, it’s delicious and filling! something to try for lunch too I think!

        1. I am going to totally try your lunch!!! I LOVE avocados (in fact ready to make chocolate cupcakes with avocado instead of egg~YUM!) Kate, again, you have a great creation for me to make. Big thanks! xo

  2. I will definitely try your salad…just add some bacon, maybe…KIDDING!!!! no bacon butt here. Seriously, LIsa, this was a fantastically helpful post for a person who’s trying to add more salads, while feeling like I’m actually eating a meal. Is cheese ever a good protein choice or is it just not great for health at all??? Thanks so much.

    1. Let me know what you think, chica! Of course, the bacon is a no-no! I am really glad you liked the post. As for the cheese, that would not be my top choice for protein. Feta cheese will work. I would stick the beans, lean meat… I can have a long conversation about cheese…we can have that during our coaching session.:)

  3. Hi Lisa, I liked your article! I eat a spinach/almond/dried cranberry salad almost everyday for lunch. Sometimes I add goat cheese too, I have a whole wheat roll with it if I’m super hungry.
    I’m just wondering though, what is dulse?
    See ya soon. Xo

    1. Thanks for you message, Leigh Ann! Your salad creation is not only yummy but full of good stuff. Dulse is a seaweed that you can find at Whole Foods. It has a salty taste and tons of trace minerals. Great for the thyroid and preventing heart disease. Let me know if you want to try it…I can stop over with a bag to sample. Talk soon, love. xo

  4. I have found that changing my greens to kale has helped me feel full longer. I marinate the kale overnight with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt to taste, a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper and a little drizzle of honey. The kale is good all by itself but even better as a salad base. My favorite combo is kale salad base, dried cranberries, walnuts, shallots and sprouts.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your awesome message. That kale recipe sounds so delish! I am such a big kale fan, I tell you. I like your tip of adding kale to the salads. I will do that! xx

  5. I add albacore tuna and carrots to mine! And my hubby makes the BEST Strawberry salad in the world, I absolutly LOVE love it! He makes it for my every Saturday night!:):):)

    1. That tuna is a wonderful protein! AND I want that recipe for Ray’s strawberry salad. What is in it?! Sounds out-of-this world Yummy! xo

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