If you’re wanting to make a delicious vegan salad that actually keeps you full longer than 30-minutes, try out these tips!
It’s the new year, and that means more people are eating salads than ever.
Maybe it’s your New Year’s resolution to eat more veggies or more greens, or maybe you just feel like adding in a few more veggies after the holidays. As a Dietitian, I think it’s awesome to be trying to incorporate more veggies into our everyday eating patterns! But I’m here to tell you that salads don’t have to suck- And they don’t have to leave you feeling hungry thirty minutes after eating them.
If you’re one of my clients or Thriving on Plant-Based Fundamentals students, you know that I’m always preaching that meals should contain a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to keep us feeling fuller and energized for longer. Without these components, we can often find ourselves craving more snacks. While I’m all for a good snack, we should feel full for about 2-3 hours after eating a meal- Otherwise our meal likely wasn’t big enough, or it didn’t have a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Now, it’s totally fine to have some days that you’re craving more snacks than usual, but if you’re finding yourself hungry thirty minutes after eating consistently, these tips may be useful to you.
How to Make a Vegan Salad Filling
There are a few aspects to making a salad more filling-making sure there’s a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fats, flavor, and making sure it’s big enough to qualify as a meal.If you’re eating a side salad, relying on greens, veggies and a simple dressing is totally fine, since you may be getting a good source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats with your meal. But if a salad is your main meal, it’s bets to aim for a good source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats to keep you energized throughout the day.
I think most of us know that protein is important for building muscle, but it also helps with building body tissue, allowing metabolic reactions to take place and maintaining proper fluid and pH balance in the body. Eating a good source of protein with a meal also helps to balance blood sugar and keep us feeling fuller for longer. Try adding a source of plant-based protein with your vegan salads to make them more satiating. I recommend aiming for about one quarter of your bowl or plate to be a plant-based protein source.
Examples of vegan protein:
- Roasted chickpeas
- Baked tofu
- Smoky Tempeh
- Edamame (can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores
- Black beans or other beans of choice
- Vegan meat alternatives
Despite what you might hear on social media, carbohydrates are necessary for giving us energy, helping us feel fuller for longer, helping with proper hormone production (particularly serotonin, the happy hormone!), and fuelling our brain. The key is to choose whole grains as your carbohydrate option more often than refined grains. Whole grains have all of their fiber and nutrients still in tact, which helps regulate bowel movements, keep our blood sugars stable, and our energy levels consistent throughout the day. Don’t be afraid of adding carbohydrate sources to your salad- You’ll likely find that they keep you feeling fuller and more energized for longer!
Examples of carbohydrate sources:
- Roasted sweet or regular potato
- Brown rice
- Piece of toast on the side
- Butternut squash
- Dried fruit
- Whole wheat croutons
Despite what you might have heard, eating fat will not make you fat. In fact, fat is so important for the absorption of certain nutrients (particularly vitamins A, D, E and K), for production of hormones, brain and nerve function and for our energy levels. Some fats, omega-3 and 6, are essential, meaning we have to eat them because our body cannot make them in adequate quantities on their own. I wrote a whole blog post on omega-3 and 6 because they’re that important!
You might be amazed to find that adding a source of healthy fats to your salad will help you to stay fuller for longer, more energized and may even help to reduce cravings throughout the day. Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats to your vegan salads (and other meals!).
Examples of fat sources:
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Ground flax seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Nuts or seeds
Just because you’re eating a salad doesn’t mean that it can’t taste good! A huge part of feeling satisfied from a meal is making sure that it actually suits our personal taste preferences. I always recommend adding in dried fruit, herbs, nuts, seeds, a delicious dressing or vegan cheese into a salad to make sure that it tastes good to you, and don’t feel guilty for these add-ins! If something tastes good, you’re more likely to include it more often into your daily or weekly eating pattern.
I love to make sure I have something crunchy, sweet and salty in my salads to hit all of the flavor notes.
Here are some of my favorite add-ins to a vegan salad:
- Nutritional yeast (bonus- 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast has 2 grams of protein!)
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh or dried fruit
- A pinch of salt or pepper
- Fresh herbs
- Red pepper flakes
- A sprinkle of vegan cheese
- Try chopping the salad finely so it’s easier to eat
- Massage kale or other tough greens with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of salt to make them more tender
Lastly, it’s important to make sure that your salads are large enough to qualify as a meal. Because plant-based foods are often lower in calories (aka energy!) than animal based foods, we often need to eat more to feel full. Make sure you’re eating large enough portions- You should feel comfortably full or satisfied after your meals. If you’re feeling hungry thirty minutes after eating, make sure you’re covering all of the components we’ve discussed, and that your portions are large enough for you! This may change day to day based on your activity level, how much you ate the day before, what you’ve eaten that day so far, how much sleep you got, etc.
Looking for some delicious salad recipes? Check these out!
To learn how to thrive on a plant-based diet, check out my online program, Thriving on Plant-Based Fundamentals! Enrollment is now open for a limited time.
Looking for more plant-based recipes? Get my favorite soup recipes exclusively in my e-cookbook, Everyday Vegan Soup!
Need some guidance on your journey with a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet? We can work together virtually! Book your FREE 15-minute consultation to see if we’d be a good fit!
Want my FREE Easy Vegan Sauces Ebook? Sign up to my email list to receive it!