When is the best time to eat a salad?
- 2 Minutes Read
Can eating salad help you eat more veggies and lose weight? If so, when is the best time to eat salad?
Should you eat a salad before, during, or after a meal? While traveling around Europe, I noticed that the time people ate salads varied by country.
In American restaurants, a salad is traditionally served before the main course. In Italy, it is common to eat a green or garden salad after the main course. We were pleasantly surprised in the Netherlands to be served one large, family-sized salad at restaurants during the meal, even though we had not ordered one.
If you are a parent and want to make sure your children, and yourself, consume a generous, natural dose of vitamins and minerals, serve the vegetables upfront when everyone is the most hungry. One of the benefits of eating salad (highlighted by this research) before the meal is that it increases our vegetable consumption by 23%. A significant increase since only one out of ten adults eats enough fruits and vegetables each day. Consuming your salad upfront helps you eat at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit each day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day.
If you are trying to lose weight, eating a salad as an "appetizer" can be a smart move. Eaten before the meal, a salad loaded with low-calorie vegetables can help you feel full. You may be less likely to eat as many calories during the main meal.
A traditional Dutch meal is straightforward, often consisting of meat, a starch, and vegetables, such as a salad. Eating a salad with the main meal follows the guidelines of the USDA MyPlate. Create a healthy meal by filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits and one quarter of your plate with lean protein and one quarter of your plate with whole grains. This ensures you are getting in a range of vitamins and minerals and promotes balanced eating.
There are a few reasons to eat a salad after the main course like many Italians. Salad dressing in Italy is generally made with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Because the main course is often accompanied by wine, Italians do not want the acidity of the vinegar to compete with the acidity of the wine. Secondly, the acidity of the vinegar rejuvenates the taste buds in anticipation of dessert, therefore, it makes sense that after the main course is the best time to eat salad. It heightens your enjoyment of dessert!
Leafy greens and colorful veggies are the cornerstones of any salad. When it comes to health, there are several benefits to getting in that daily dose of vegetables and fruits.
To access the Premium Recipes simply tap on the chef hat icon, and then filter your search for salads by tapping on the green tag icon to the right of the search field. Scroll down and tap on Sides on the Select Categories screen.
MyNetDiary can import recipe ingredients and directions directly into your account! You can then make changes and save the recipe as your own for easy and accurate tracking. To access this feature from the app go to the Me tab, then Recipe Import. Here are some additional tips for using this feature.
Ultimately, the answer depends on what works best for you and your lifestyle. Find a time each day that's convenient for you to eat your salad, and you will set yourself up for success in weight loss and good nutrition.
This blog was reviewed and updated by: Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES on July 10, 2020
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