There are so many great reasons why salads are the perfect meal choice when dieting. Salads are healthy for your body, delicious to eat, and incredibly simple to prepare. Eat This, Not That! is here today with some of the best healthy salad recipes for weight loss, and we’re sure you’ll love all of them. We spoke with Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian, certified specialist in sports dietetics, and member of our Medical Expert Board, who explains that incorporating salads into your diet can promote weight loss in quite a few ways:
- They’re low in calories. “Many salads are naturally low in calories, especially if they are primarily composed of vegetables and lean proteins,” Goodson says. This helps you consume a greater volume of food for fewer calories, promoting satiety without excess energy consumption.
- They’re high in fiber. The usual salad suspects, such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains, are chock-full of fiber. “Fiber adds bulk to your diet without adding calories, promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing overall calorie intake,” Goodson tells us.
- They’re nutrient-dense. Salads can be jam-packed with essential nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. “Choosing nutrient-dense foods helps ensure that you get the necessary nutrients without excessive calories,” says Goodson.
- They help keep you hydrated. When you’re looking to lose weight, staying hydrated is key—and eating salad helps you check off that box. “Many salad ingredients, such as lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes, have high water content. Staying hydrated is important for overall health and can also contribute to a feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating,” Goodson points out.
- They promote portion control. Salads can support portion control, as they usually have a large volume compared to their calorie count. “When you fill up on nutrient-rich salads, you’re less likely to overeat on higher-calorie foods,” Goodson explains.
Here are some elements you should always strive to include in a salad:
- Leafy greens (kale, arugula, spinach, or romaine lettuce)
- Colorful veggies (bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, and more)
- Lean protein (turkey, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, lean beef, fish, tofu, lentils, or beans)
- Healthy fats (nuts, avocados, seeds, or olive oil)
- Homemade dressing, complete with vinegar, olive oil, spices, and herbs
- A healthy crunch (nuts, toasted oats, or pomegranate arils instead of tortilla strips or croutons)
Now, without delay, let’s get into the best salad recipes for weight loss. And when you’re through savoring every last bite, be sure to read 10 Best Breakfast Foods for Losing Weight & Gaining Muscle.
Turkey BLT Salad
Whole-wheat croutons and fresh romaine serve as the tasty base of this salad. Lean protein—cubed deli turkey—along with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes complete this recipe. You can make this salad even healthier by opting for homemade olive oil and vinegar dressing rather than store-bought ranch.
Get our recipe for Turkey BLT Salad.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Let’s be honest: Nothing beats a grilled Caesar! Our recipe takes this classic dish to the next level, swapping out a traditionally high-calorie dressing for a scrumptious vinaigrette and adding sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Lean protein in the form of chicken breast rounds out this weight-loss-friendly salad.
Get our recipe for Grilled Caesar Salad.
Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad
This salad makes for a scrumptious, healthy lunch or appetizer. Complete with cucumbers, watercress (or baby arugula), peanuts, red onion, and calamari, you can’t go wrong with this 220-calorie recipe.
Get our recipe for Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad.
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
If you’re a goat cheese fan, this refreshing pear salad with goat cheese croutons will take your love to the next level. You have everything you need in a weight-loss-approved salad: nuts for crunch, along with fresh fruit and veggies!
Get our recipe for Warm Goat Cheese Salad.
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad
This salad is chock-full of protein, thanks to the chicken. Complete with fresh veggies, nuts, and healthy fats, this screams a recipe that’s here to support your weight loss goals.
Get our recipe for Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad.
Grilled Mexican Steak Salad
This grilled Mexican steak salad is a favorite for good reason. With the leaner cut of meat, plus fresh veggies and healthy fat content (thanks to the avocado!), you’ll be whipping up this recipe time and time again.
Get our recipe for Grilled Mexican Steak Salad.
Chicken Salad Sandwich With Raisins and Curry Powder
Preparing a larger batch of this tangy curry chicken salad is an excellent idea for meal prep. The flavor profile is brought full circle with the golden raisins, diced onion, celery, and curry powder. Instead of serving it as a sandwich, enjoy this chicken salad over a fresh bed of lettuce to cut calories.
Get our recipe for Chicken Salad Sandwich With Raisins and Curry Powder.
Chinese Chicken Salad
This Chinese chicken salad brings together sweet and savory for a well-rounded lunch or dinner. It calls for napa cabbage, red cabbage, shredded chicken, cilantro, mandarin oranges, and sliced almonds for a bite you’ll be obsessed with.
Get our recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad.
Shrimp and Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon
Spinach is a superfood that deserves a key spot in your weight-loss meal rotation. That’s where this shrimp and spinach salad comes into play. You can easily rack up calories by ordering a spinach salad at one of your favorite restaurants, but this recipe will only cost you 220 calories. It’s a keeper for sure!
Get our recipe for Shrimp and Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon.
Caprese Tomato Tower Salad
What’s not to love about a classic Caprese tomato salad tower? It brings together creamy mozzarella (which serves as an excellent protein and calcium source) with fresh tomatoes and basil. If you can head to your local farmer’s market for fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, even better.
Get our recipe for Caprese Tomato Tower Salad.
Chicken Greek Salad
This Greek salad recipe has healthy and hearty elements to it, and it’s one you’ll want to keep in your weekly meal rotation. It doesn’t come with any high-calorie elements and brings together shredded or chopped chicken, bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, garbanzo beans, and crumbled feta cheese for 360 calories.
Get our recipe for Chicken Greek Salad.
Asparagus Salad With a Fried Egg and Prosciutto
Salads aren’t just lettuce topped with veggies! This warm asparagus salad with a fried egg on top breaks the norm in the best of ways. Plus, this recipe will only cost you 260 calories.
Get our recipe for Asparagus Salad With a Fried Egg and Prosciutto.
Spinach Salad Topped With Goat Cheese, Apples, and a Warm Bacon Dressing
Gear up for another spinach salad that’s salty, sweet, and crunchy. Caramelized apples, toasted pecans, spinach, red onions, and creamy goat cheese make up this mouthwatering recipe that’s perfect to prepare for lunch or dinner.
Get our recipe for Spinach Salad Topped With Goat Cheese, Apples, and a Warm Bacon Dressing.
Simple and Healthy Fig, Prosciutto, & Goat Cheese Salad
Fresh, juicy figs are the star of this salad recipe, which brings together pine nuts, goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula, and homemade dressing for a flavorful bite. This recipe is just 230 calories and has everything you want and more in a salad.
Get our recipe for Simple and Healthy Fig, Prosciutto, & Goat Cheese Salad.
This recipe is a super unique way to enjoy a salad, and once you try it, you’ll surely be hooked. All you have to do is whip up a refreshing lump crabmeat mixture together, slice an avocado in half, salt it, and stuff the mixture into the avocado half. That’s it!
Get our recipe for Avocado-Crab Salad.
Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad
If you haven’t tried pickled cucumbers before, now’s your time to do so. This pickled cucumber salad is seamless to put together and is a tasty option no matter the time of year. Enjoy it as a side dish to your protein or for a light lunch.
Get our recipe for Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad.
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad With Eggs and Pickled Red Onions
A warm Brussels sprouts salad is good for the soul—and your weight loss efforts. Add protein-packed eggs and pickled red onions into the mix, and you have yourself a filling, veggie-packed meal to savor for lunch or dinner.
Get our recipe for Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad With Eggs and Pickled Red Onions.
Red and Green Breakfast Salad
Salad for breakfast? You heard that right! This red and green breakfast salad may be your new favorite way to kick off the day. It has everything you need in a healthy breakfast recipe, including vegetables, eggs, and hearty grains.
Get our recipe for Red and Green Breakfast Salad.
Curried Egg Salad
If you’re a fan of egg salad for lunch, this could be your new go-to recipe. Enjoy this curried egg salad over a bed of fresh arugula or spinach, or all by itself! All you need to do is simply mix the ingredients together, and savor this protein-packed bite.
Get our recipe for Curried Egg Salad.
Chef’s Salad-Style Eggs on a Stick
If you’re tired of having the same old salad out of a bowl, why not try it on a stick? This chef’s salad-style eggs on a stick recipe is a fun and healthy way to get in your greens and eggs and spruce things up.
Get our recipe for Chef’s Salad-Style Eggs on a Stick.
Savory Roasted Beet Salad With Barley
This savory roasted beet salad with barley is free of meat but still packs plenty of protein and fiber. Beets bring the flavor profile of this salad full circle, and they’re paired with hard-cooked eggs, walnuts, goat cheese, barley, and homemade dressing. Yum!
Get our recipe for Savory Roasted Beet Salad With Barley.
Bean, Salmon, and Kale Salad
A mason jar salad is one of the best meal prep lunch ideas you can replicate. Take this bean, salmon, and kale salad recipe, for example. It’s packed with nutrients and superfoods that will leave you feeling full and incredibly satisfied.
Get our recipe for Bean, Salmon, and Kale Salad.
Spinach-Pomegranate Salad With Roasted Turkey
If you’re looking for more mason jar salad inspiration during your weight-loss journey, check out this spinach-pomegranate salad that features a lean protein, roasted turkey. It’s certainly a colorful salad—and you know what they say about the health benefits of adding more colors to your plate!
Get our recipe for Spinach-Pomegranate Salad With Roasted Turkey.
Mexican Quinoa and Chicken Salad
If you’re unsure of how to add quinoa to your daily dishes, consider trying out this savory Mexican quinoa and chicken salad. It brings together black beans, fresh salsa, avocado, onion, corn, and fresh herbs for a hearty and healthy dish.
Get our recipe for Mexican Quinoa and Chicken Salad.
Mixed Greens Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
This mixed greens salad with pumpkin vinaigrette comes in clutch whenever you’re craving a little taste of autumn in your life. Whipping up homemade dressing receives Goodson’s seal of approval, and this pumpkin vinaigrette is one you’ll find yourself making again and again.
Get our recipe for Mixed Greens Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette.
Arugula and Grapefruit Salad With Dill Ranch Dressing
This arugula and grapefruit salad with dill ranch dressing can be savored as a light side dish or as a full meal by adding your go-to choice of lean protein. The addition of citrusy grapefruit really brings this recipe’s flavor to the next level.
Get our recipe for Arugula and Grapefruit Salad With Dill Ranch Dressing.
Roasted Veggie Salad With Tahini Dressing
This roasted veggie salad is packed with superfoods, from the spinach to the broccoli to the sweet potato. The tangy lemon tahini dressing is an added bonus, making for a scrumptious meal.
Get our recipe for Roasted Veggie Salad With Tahini Dressing.
Chicken Salad with Creamy Dressing
If you’re looking for more meal prep ideas, this chicken salad with creamy dressing fits the bill. All you have to do is whip up a batch, and serve it over a bed of fresh greens when it’s time for lunch. Plus, it features a lemon tahini dressing, which is a much healthier choice compared to mayonnaise.
Get our recipe for Chicken Salad with Creamy Dressing.
Crunchy Breakfast Salad With Eggs
We’re totally here for the breakfast salad and hope we’ve convinced you, too. This crunchy and tasty recipe has eggs, butter lettuce, radishes, snap peas, cucumbers, and walnuts for a refreshing start to any day.
Get our recipe for Crunchy Breakfast Salad With Eggs.
Rotisserie Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Salad
Last but certainly not least, this list of healthy salad recipes for weight loss wraps up with a rotisserie chicken, kale, and white bean salad. Using rotisserie chicken in your salad is a great way to cut down on prep time without sacrificing flavor. Add in white beans, walnuts, and kale, and you’re set to enjoy a nutritious lunch or dinner.
Get our recipe for Rotisserie Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Salad.