With summer in full swing, there’s truly nothing that hits the spot quite like a refreshing, veggie-packed salad. Luckily for those who are trying to lose weight, it’s no secret that these are also some of the best meals you can eat to stay healthy, keep your calorie count low, boost your metabolismand maintain all the energy you need to kill it during your workouts. But it’s not enough to just throw some vegetables on a plate and call it a salad; You’ll need a good amount of protein to help you stay full throughout the day and avoid overeating later on.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of delicious proteins to add to the mix and make your meal tastier and healthier than ever—and there’s also a plethora of recipes that will help you do just that. So, without further ado, here are four of our favorite protein-packed summer salads:
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Healthy Quinoa Salad
When you think of salad, you probably think of some sort of leafy greens such as spinach or lettuce taking up the majority of your plate. But have you ever considered the fact that quinoa makes a great, fibrous, high-protein salad base? This grain is so versatile—and not to mention delicious, which is why it goes so well in salads like this one. Throw in healthy beans, antioxidant-packed red peppers, onion, mango, and more, and you’ve got yourself your new favorite summer salad you can enjoy all the time while you’re on your weight loss journey. Yum!
Ingredients for the salad: White or red quinoa, water, black beans, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, mango, red onion, avocado, chopped mint.
Ingredients for the dressing: vegetable or canola oil, fresh lime juice, champagne vinegar, sugar, chili powder, kosher salt, jalapeno
Berry Chicken Salad
If chicken is what you’re after this summer, look no further than this sweet summer salad. Complete with a hearty helping of spinach, delicious, healthy fresh berries, and omega-3 rich pecans, you simply can’t go wrong with this classic combo. But the real finishing touch here is the crumbled goat cheese to bring all the flavors together. Our mouths are watering! Of course, the best part is that after eating this, you’ll be able to take on whatever the day throws at you—including a fat-burning workout.
Ingredients: fresh baby spinach, raspberries, strawberries, goat cheese, pecans, raspberry vinaigrette
BBQ Chicken Salad
Nothing says “summer” like a good barbecue—and just because you’re trying to lose weight, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the tasty fun! This BBQ chicken salad offers everything you need to stay healthy and reap the benefits of a delicious cookout: chicken, lettuce, rice, black beans, corn… the list goes on. It’s packed with nutritious ingredients to keep you fuller longer, so you won’t be inclined to go overboard on that big bag of potato chips. Perfect!
Ingredients for the salad: Romaine lettuce, cilantro, white rice, shredded chicken, BBQ sauce, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, can of corn, red onion, bell pepper, carrot, tortilla strips.
Ingredients for the dressing: Buttermilk, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, salt, cumin
Falafel Salad With Tahini Dressing
Craving Mediterranean? We’ve got you covered! Introducing this falafel salad with tahini dressing—truly a match made in health (and tastebud) heaven. Not only does the fresh falafel offer tons of plant-based protein, but you’ve also got the added boost of countless veggies on your side. When you throw in leafy greens, cucumber, tomato, and more, there’s no denying that this meal will provide you with all the energy you need to knock your workouts out of the park and slim down this summer.
Ingredients for the salad: chickpeas, parsley, purple onion, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt, olive oil, leafy greens like lettuce, cucumber, grape tomatoes
Ingredients for the dressing: tahini water, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper