If you’re looking for easy and filling summer salad recipes that will help with your weight loss goals, we’re curated the best of the best! Made with fresh ingredients, this collection of summer salads for weight loss has something for everyone. We’ve included keto, gluten-free, and vegan options, and many of these recipes can be made in advance as part of your weekly meal-prep routine. These recipes are perfect for summer BBQs, and you can easily make these recipes for a crowd by doubling or tripling the ingredients. From grilled zucchini, to refreshing watermelon, to spinach tortellini, to warm Brussels sprouts and kale, these summer salads for weight loss will not disappoint!
6 Tips to Make Your Salads Healthier
1. Avoid unhealthy additions
People often turn to salads when trying to lose weight, but fail to realize all of the little ways they are adding extra fat and calories to what they believe is a healthy meal. While bacon, croutons, creamy salad dressings, fried proteins, and processed deli meat certainly make salads tastier, they are terrible for your waistline. Stick with lean proteins like grilled chicken, healthy fats like avocado, and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
2. Add lean protein
Protein helps keep you full for longer so you feel satisfied and are less likely to snack between meals. Protein reduces hunger, helps curb cravings, and also protects muscle mass, which is important if you want to boost your metabolism. If weight loss is your goal, consider adding high-protein foods like grilled chicken, eggs, beans, chickpeas, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and/or salmon to your salads to ensure you feel satiated.
3. Make healthy swaps
If you’re on the hunt for summer salads for weight loss, there are lots of simple food swaps you can make to help slash calories without completely compromising taste. Here are some of our favorites!
- Mustard for Mayo. When you’re making salad dressing, stick to using mustard instead of mayo. While many dressings use mayo, you’ll be adding tons of unnecessary calories to your salad. Mustard is very low in calories and it’s also carb- and fat-free, so it’s a much better bet!
- Fresh Fruit for Dried Fruit. Dried fruits like cranberries and apricots are full of sugar and extra calories. Instead, add fresh fruits to your salads for natural sweetness and texture. This also goes for fresh vegetables over vegetables in bags or cans. Fresh is always better!
- Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream. Some creamy salad dressings use sour cream as an ingredient, and while this tangy, creamy dairy product is delicious, you’ll cut calories by subbing for Greek yogurt. Not only will you save calories, you’ll also get a dose of probiotics for gut health!
- Homemade Dressing for Store Bought. Homemade dressing will always be healthier than store-bought. There are lots of additives and preservatives that go into store-bought dressings, so making it yourself will undoubtedly save you calories and fat.
4. Load up on fiber
Consuming adequate fiber is a great way to speed up weight loss. You should be eating at least 25 grams of fiber per day to reap the benefits. Fiber helps with your digestive health, disease prevention, weight control, and foods high in fiber help you feel full for longer. To increase the fiber content of your favorite summer salads, start with a base of leafy greens like kale and arugula, and add foods such as lentils, black beans, peas, raspberries, and pears.
5. Add complex carbs
Contrary to popular believe, carbs are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbs are your body’s primary source of energy, helping to keep your brain, heart, kidneys, and central nervous system adequately fuelled. The trick is to eat the right kind of carbs – the ones that are high in fiber and starch and low in sugar. Quinoa, whole wheat pasta, beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, berries, and apples are all examples of complex carbs that can help with weight loss and maintenance. These foods are high in fiber and take longer to digest, providing your body with the energy it needs and helping you to feel full for a longer period of time.
6. Make your own salad dressing
If you’re on the hunt for healthy summer salads for weight loss, pay special attention to the salad dressings you use. Creamy dressings such as ranch, blue cheese and thousand island are full of calories and fat, and while EVOO is a great substitute, remember that a little goes a long way. To keep your salads as healthy as possible, make your own vinaigrette at home, or skip the dressing altogether.
10 Easy Summer Salads For Weight Loss
Easy Summer Corn Salad | Hip 2 Save
Creamy Cucumber Salad | Mom On Timeout
Summer Cherry Tomato Salad | Curry Trail
Addictive Asian Cabbage Salad | Sunkissed Kitchen
Grilled Zucchini Salad | Diethood
Refreshing Watermelon Salad | Munchkin Time
Brown Rice Salad | Ela Vegan
Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing | The Cookie Rookie
Easy Three Bean Salad | Crazy For Crust
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chicken | Foodie Crush
10 Pasta Summer Salads For Weight Loss
Light and Easy Pasta Salad | Julie Blanner
Bruschetta Pasta Salad | A Pretty Life
California Spaghetti Pasta Salad | The Recipe Critic
Roasted Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta Salad | Lord Byron’s Kitchen
Easy Spinach Tortellini Salad | Salt & Lavender
Basil Lemon Pasta Salad |Julie Blanner
Orzo Salad | Valerie’s Kitchen
Pesto Pasta Salad | Chef Not Required
Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad | Garnish & Glaze
4-Ingredient Caprese Pasta Salad | Running in a Skirt
10 Warm Summer Salads For Weight Loss
Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad | The Live-In Kitchen
Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette | Gimme Some Oven
Quick & Easy Warm Mexican Corn Salad | Erhardts Eat
The Best Warm Potato Salad | Damn Delicious
Warm Curried Quinoa Salad | Amy Le Creations
Warm Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad | Frugal Nutrition
Shaved Brussels sprouts with Warm Bacon Dressing | The Beach House Kitchen
Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad | Not Enough Cinnamon
Warm Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad | No Spoon Necessary
Warm Kale & Wild Mushroom Salad | Nerds with Knives