Absolutely dread eating salad? This could mean you’re just not doing it right. Choosing the right salad topping can take your meal from a cold, lifeless bowl of rabbit food to a mouthwatering, craving-crushing machine. And once your bowl has the bliss it needs, you’ll start to wish it was bigger!
Thankfully, with the South Beach Diet, you can explore a wide variety of tasty salad blends, with recipes for every step of the way. On the South Beach Diet, you are advised to eat five servings of non-starchy veggies per day, and you’ll discover how being creative with salad additions provide a wealth of opportunities to make meeting those daily requirements delicious.
Try these tasty salad toppings for a (much!) more enticing bowl of greens:
Chicken is a protein source, sure to add some savory satisfaction to your greens. And it’s so incredibly versatile! Try it grilled, smoked or roasted. It’s a blank canvas, so start painting. The more your chicken pops with exciting seasonings, the more your salad will burst with flavor. With the South Beach Diet, a typical serving of chicken is three ounces, which adds up to approximately 25 grams of protein.
Experiment with this tasty recipe for Coconut Chicken >
Smoked Chicken Salad is a juicy option that combines protein and non-starchy vegetables. Get the recipe here >
Cottage cheese, cheddar, feta, goat cheese… these are only some of the awesome cheeses South Beach dieters can enjoy as a Healthy Fat, guilt-free! Whether you like it soft and creamy, or hard and shredded, cheese is a salad topping you can definitely have some fun with. Greens suddenly become a lot more appetizing with this savory addition. Cheese is good for muscles, as it contains valuable building blocks and this Eggless Caesar Salad is a recipe folks on all Phases can enjoy. Helpful hint: Sprinkle or grate it over salad to save some extra calories.
Three ounces, 20 grams of protein. This protein content makes it an important component for weight loss, fueling your body and digesting slowly. Consider your appetite curbed. But that’s not all: Tuna also packs in the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D (which is critical if you don’t live in the Bahamas) and omega-3 fatty acids. And just like chicken, whatever flavors you impart to your tuna make their way right into your salad bowl.
Venture out of tasteless salad territory in favor of Fresh Tuna Salad with Simple Lemon Dijon >
As we’ve said before, creating your own salad gives you the chance to make your bowl exciting. Texture plays a huge role, and nuts are a good food to experiment with as a salad topping. Considered a Healthy Fat on the South Beach Diet, nuts can be a flavorful, crunchy bonus on any salad. Besides the immediate satisfaction of munching on a salad topped with them, they could help you keep your appetite under control. Brigham Young University researchers found a 25 percent reduction in the amount eaten by study participants when they could hear the hard, crispy foods they were eating. Thank you, “Crunch Effect.”
Walnuts and almonds pair wonderfully with salad greens, but try Brazil nuts, pistachios or macadamia nuts and you won’t be disappointed. A quarter of a cup of most nuts is considered one Healthy Fat on the South Beach Diet. And because the limit is one, make the most of it by trying new things. This Turkey Salad with Pistachios and Grapes is a day-maker.
One cup of sprouts count as a Vegetable serving on the South Beach Diet, but feel free to go a little sprout-crazy since in addition to being fairly low-cal (there are just 10 calories per ounce in alfalfa sprouts), sprouts are full of micronutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins, depending on which type you opt for. Also, with a texture that’s all their own, there’s no way to get bored of them. Bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and lentil sprouts give any salad precisely the change of pace it needs. Not all vegetables need to be crisp!
Avocado has so much nutrition to offer—and who doesn’t love the creamy green stuff? One-half of an avocado counts as one Healthy Fat on the South Beach Diet. This fruit (in veggie disguise!) is overflowing with monounsaturated fatty acids, lutein for healthy eyes, and folate. It lends itself well to Mexican-inspired salads, but also pairs very well with sprouts.
One ounce of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds counts as one Healthy Fat on the South Beach Diet. Seeds are a great source of fiber to keep you full, way after your salad is done—plus they bring a little extra punch of protein. Seeds, raw or roasted, can leave a real impact on your taste buds and this salad topping changes the consistency game, yet again. Savor your seeds and love your salad again.
8. Swiss Chard
Probably the biggest mistake in the salad book is repeatedly going with the same old leaves. Iceberg and romaine are great, but Swiss chard is really something super.
Available in green, red, white and yellow, this Vegetable serving brings a rainbow of nutrition to your bowl. One cup of Swiss chard is a South Beach specified serving that’ll give your vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber intake a serious boost. It also gives salad an edge with its bite.
Another omega-3 fatty acid powerhouse, salmon won’t do you wrong. Three ounces of salmon counts for a Protein on South Beach Diet and offers that full feeling many “diet” foods can’t. Salmon is an awesome source of vitamin D and turns a tired, sad salad into a fabulous feast. This soft and flaky Protein adds yet another element to your bowl, making it the perfect salad topping.
Need a salmon salad recipe? We’ve got you covered! No matter what South Beach Diet phase you’re on, you can enjoy this Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad.
Okay, this one is a classic, but it’s important none the less. Rich in antioxidants and dishing out some serious vitamin C, this green vegetable is a perfect fit to help promote quality health. Cucumbers don’t just have to be reserved for toppings! They can also make a great salad base if you’re tired of other greens, or prefer a crunchier veggie.