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    5 Reasons Your Healthy Salad Could Be Making You Gain Weight

    5 Reasons Your Healthy Salad Could Be Making You Gain Weight

    Original article by Matt Weik may be found directly on Nutrabio Supplements site.

    When trying to lose weight, what is one particular food that everyone tells you to consume more of?   Salad.  Yes, everyone assumes you need to eat like a rabbit in order to tighten your waistline and drop body fat.  While salad isn’t the only nutritional change you should be making to your diet, when used incorrectly, it could actually cause you to GAIN weight unexpectedly.

    To help you better utilize salad during your weight-loss journey and allow these green leafy gems to work for you rather than against you, there are five things you need to be aware of so you aren’t left frustrated when looking at the scale.  I also provide a bonus tip at the end for good measure.  But first, let’s dive into the reasons you need to watch out for salad.

    You Don’t Pay Attention To Your Dressing

    This is one of the simplest things to change, yet one of the hardest for people to fully grasp and understand.  If you were looking at salad dressing and wanted to reduce the number of calories you consume, there are two things you need to focus on.

    1. The type of salad dressing you are using
    2. The amount of salad dressing you are using

    Seems so simple, right?   Wrong.  The first thing people tell you is to stop using regular salad dressing as it is full of fat.  They tell you to opt for the “fat-free” versions instead to drastically cut down how many calories are coming from your dressing alone.  

    I’m here to tell you that’s a terrible idea.  For starters, a little fat with your salad can help you better absorb some of the nutrients found in your salad.  Also, depending on the kind of fat you use, it’s not necessarily “bad” for you.

    Because both lettuce and fat-free salad dressings are low in calories, you probably won’t feel satiated from the meal – this will cause you to overeat later in the day.  Also, most fat-free salad dressings are using corn syrup (when you look at the ingredient list, it’s normally one of the first ingredients listed) to replace the fat for it to taste good.

    Skip the fat-free dressing, stick with the regular.  All you need to focus on is reducing the amount you use, and if possible, choose some sort of vinaigrette which includes some healthy fats.  If you are getting a salad when you’re out and about, ALWAYS ask for your dressing on the side.  Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of however much (generally WAY too much) dressing they pour on top.

    Adding Croutons

    While adding some texture and crunch to your salad, croutons are one of the worst things you can add as a topping.  Essentially, all the store-bought croutons you find are full of nothing but processed white flour that provides you with no health benefit at all.  Many times, croutons are fried, which adds unhealthy fat to your diet.

    Sure, you could use bread and make your own croutons at home, but again, all you’re doing to your salad is adding carbohydrates which increases the total calorie count.

    My suggestion?   Skip the croutons altogether.   When you go to a restaurant, ask the waiter if you can have your salad without croutons.  They will be more than happy to accommodate your request.

    Skipping The Protein

    As mentioned earlier, lettuce does not contain many calories. It’s mostly made up of water.   Even after adding a little vinaigrette to your salad and tossing in some healthy vegetables like tomatoes, onion, carrots, cucumber, and even some peppers, you’re still not left with a satiating meal that provides any sort of bulk to your meal.  If you want to increase satiety, consider adding some protein to your salad.

    Protein is necessary for building lean muscle mass as well as needed to maintain and preserve it.   Protein is also very filling and can add some quality macros to your salad.  

    Additionally, protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF), which means it takes your body more energy to digest, absorb, and utilize this macronutrient than any of the others.  What this means is that your body will burn more calories when you consume protein with your meals.

    Consider adding some lean cuts of steak on top of your salad, some hardboiled eggs, shrimp, grilled salmon, or even the most commonly used protein source, which is grilled chicken.   If animal protein isn’t your thing, you can use tofu or other plant-based protein alternatives to add to your salad to increase the overall protein content.

    Another topping that includes protein that many people forget about is chickpeas.  These delicious little balls of protein goodness can spruce up any salad you add them to.

    Using Too Much Cheese

    While not the worst offender when it comes to toppings on your salad, cheese quickly causes the calorie count to shoot up due to the fat content.  If you get a salad from a restaurant, they tend to go a little overboard with how much they put on top.  When putting cheese on your salad at home, many people have a difficult time eyeballing the correct serving size and don’t necessarily want to weigh or measure everything out.

    The best thing to do would be to skip cheese as a topping with your salad or put on a TINY amount just to add a little flavor if you absolutely must have cheese on your salad.

    The Type Of Salad Matters (They’re Not All Created Equal)

    Without getting into the plethora of names given to salads these days, I just want you to think about what’s available and what you generally find in all of the various salads out there.  

    A salad can come with a taco shell, glazed nuts, dried fruit, wontons, nuts, seeds, processed meat, fried toppings – the list goes on and on.  Every little thing added to your salad will alter the macros and calorie count.

    Many of the toppings mentioned can definitely alter and improve the flavor of a salad and make it more palatable, but at the expense of causing your salad to become more calorie-dense.

    BONUS TIP!

    If you’re packing a salad for a meal on the go or for lunch, there are a few things you need to know.   First, ALWAYS wash and dry your greens before you package them in a container to take with you.  If you pack them up wet, your salad will go limp, and it can ruin the flavor and texture of your salad.  

     The second tip is to never add your dressing on top of your salad if you don’t intend on eating it right away.  Similar to what happens when you don’t dry off your greens, the leaves will wilt, and the flavor will be altered.  Pack your dressing separately and take it with you to add when you’re ready to sit down and eat.

    Original article may be found directly on Nutrabio's site.

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)


     

    Two hormones have a major influence on energy balance: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin mediates long-term energy regulation and is responsible for decreasing hunger. Ghrelin is the yin to leptin’s yang, a fast-acting hormone that increases hunger.

     

    When you’re cutting, putting your body in an intentional caloric deficit, the body’s subconscious response is to increase ghrelin which leads to cravings and hunger pangs. This is true even in short cutting periods. And if you give in to these cravings, your cutting will have been for nothing! Here are eight ways to counteract the body’s hunger response:

     

     

    ICON Meals - Caffeine

    1. Caffeine

    Black coffee’s caffeine content can blunt hunger. However, it’s not a panacea and I wouldn’t recommend downing a pot later in the day.

     

    ICON Meals - Distractions

    2. Distractions

    There’s nothing like watching your favorite show or a movie during dinner to help you chill out after a long day, and mild hunger can fade when our minds are distracted with entertainment. Take care to fully enjoy your food — chew thoroughly, swallow, set your fork down, take a sip of water. It’s not a race.

     

    ICON Meals - Fasting

     

    3. Fasting

    Some people have no trouble pushing their meals until later in the day, and fasting can be effective for fat loss — but it is definitely not REQUIRED. Before jumping on the fasting bandwagon pay close attention to how it affects your energy levels. There’s no reason to force your body to take on additional stress when already in a deficit.

     

    ICON Meals Flavors

     

    4. Flavor

    If you’re finding your food a little bland, adding spices and other flavors can make it more palatable without adding excessive amounts of sodium or sugar — ICON Flavor Seasonings are a great example. Too much salt and sugar can numb taste receptors over time, leave you feeling hungry, and make lightly-seasoned foods less satisfying.

     

    ICON Meals - Hydration

     

    5. Hydration

    Drinking water is far better than eating more calories when maintaining a deficit. Most importantly, you need water to help regulate a vast number of physiological processes and stay healthy. Drinking water before and after a meal (and in between bites) helps to promote fullness and keeps your digestive system working properly.

     

    ICON Meals Grilled Chicken Lean Box

     

    5. Nutrients

    Whole foods are your best bet for overall health. 200 calories of potato chips are mostly empty of valuable nutrition —instead, opt for veggies or micronutrient-dense foods to get far more bang for your caloric buck. Additionally, nutrient-dense foods often provide your body with better energy levels and can be much easier on digestion.

     

    ICON Meals Mentality

     

    6. Mentality

    Going to bed hungry is a big pet peeve of mine, so I like to save the majority of my daily calories for the last meal of the day. This doesn’t agree with everyone, and that’s ok. After you’ve eaten dinner, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to starve. If you get those post-dinner cravings, drink water, stay occupied, and see how you feel in 20 minutes.

     

    ICON Meals Sleep

     

    7. Sleep

    Sleep affects hormone regulation, and lack of it will put leptin and ghrelin out of balance. To prevent cravings and dips in your energy, your body needs to get full, complete rest. This is doubly important when you’re intentionally depriving yourself of calories.

     

    ICON Meals Fork

     

    8. Utensil Size

    Psychological tricks can help us feel fuller without actually changing our food. Smaller silverware and dishes visually trick our minds into thinking our portions are larger and therefore more satisfying.

    Five FREE Killer High-Protein Sandwich Recipes

    Five FREE Killer High-Protein  Sandwich Recipes

    Sandwiches are a quick and easy meal for active days, and when there’s fun in the sun to be had nobody wants to spend too much time in the kitchen.

     

    It’s also tough to get enough protein in when you’re running around! We’ve solved both problems with one stone — a short recipe ebook featuring 5 amazing sandwiches that are easy to make. Using two slices of our Protein Bread will add 30g of protein to your macros all by themselves.

     

    [Download FREE Recipes ebook]

     

    Download High Protein Sandwich Recipes

     Order Protein Bread

     

    3 Custom Meals For Fat Loss

    3 Custom Meals For Fat Loss

    Calories put on pounds, simple as that. If you want to lose weight, just cut out the calories, right? Well — it’s not that simple. To stay HEALTHY while cutting you still need to eat well. The key is to load up your diet with foods rich in nutrients and proteins, and low in saturated fats and calories. High-protein foods keep you feeling full longer, reducing hunger cravings — the #1 diet destroyer.

     

    How much protein is enough for you? According to the Dietary Reference Intake Report, the maintenance zone for sedentary people is 0.36g/day for every pound they weigh*. Let’s assume readers of this blog are more active and focused on muscle building, we’ll increase that number to 0.75g/day. If you weigh 220lbs, you need 165g/protein a day.

     

    Build Custom Meals Now

     


    Three Custom Meals Designed To Lose Fat

     

    1. Chicken, Sweet Potato Mash, and Green Beans

     

    It’s tough to get any cleaner than this meal. Our super lean chicken breast clocks in at 6.25g of protein per ounce. Green Beans provide an incredible amount of nutrients in a calorically small package, and our sweet potato mash will keep you feeling full and energetic! This balanced and tasty meal is perfect for controlling weight.

     

    ICON Meals Chicken Custom Meal

     

    2. Shrimp, Red Potatoes, and Broccoli 

     

    Inspired by Louisiana crawfish boils, this meal features low-fat, high-protein shrimp that will keep hunger at bay without piling on the calories. Red potatoes provide valuable healthy fats (necessary for any healthy diet), a reasonable amount of carbs, and a bonus boost of protein. Broccoli provides an incredible amount of nutrients in a calorically small package.

     

    ICON Meals Custom Meals Shrimp

     

    3. Turkey Breast, Sweet Potatoes, and Green Beans

     

    Feeling like some fall-favorite comfort food? Turkey is almost as protein-packed as chicken at 6g/oz, while still being super clean and lean. Add just a little oven roasted sweet potato for flavor balance and fiber, plus green beans to round out the carbs and add even more fiber. It’s a meal that will fill you up on just a few calories.

     

    ICON Meals Custom Meal Turkey

    We’ll Do The Math For You!

    Our website features a macro calculator that updates live as you select between portion sizes. It’s incredibly easy for you to find your perfect macro balance with a few clicks.

     

    Just remember: if you’re active you need to consume roughly 0.5g of protein for every pound you weigh, daily.

     

    Put together your custom meals today.

     


     

    *https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx