How Many Calories Are in a Side Salad

How Many Calories Are in a Side Salad?

Counting calories became quite popular these days. Everyone is testing different types of weight loss diets, we have a fitness coach expansion and everyone is claiming their diet is the best. Truth is that we need all 3 macro-nutrients and the best diet is the balanced one. When it comes to weight loss, the only way to lose some pounds is to spend more calories than you eat. That is called calorie deficit and for long as you are spending more calories than you enter into your body, you’ll be losing weight. But how many calories are in a side salad?

Let’s start with the basics, not all calories are the same. To be more precise, the quality of calories depends on their sources. You can eat chocolate all day and still be losing calories but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In my honest opinion, the best calories you can get are from vegetables and the most delicious way to take those calories are from salads. Each country is having their own specific salad and is equally proud to present those to tourists. I’m the type of person that enjoys eating a salad with every meal, and I’ve been making all kinds of salads on my own. Especially because they are easy to make and usually don’t need frying or baking which can be quite time-consuming.

How Many Calories Are in a Side Salad?

Salads are usually meals or sides with the least amount of calories cause they are made from fresh vegetables. Some of those vegetables even require more calories to be digested than they have. It’s not hard to have full control over your meals at home, but when you are eating out or having lunch on vacation, you can easily be tricked that something is low on calories or healthy just because it contains some vegetables. The main issue is the dressing which can add a lot of calories to your meal and can affect how many calories are in a side salad.

Combine that with a meal you are having, like a perfectly cooked steak, or a dessert at the end, and you can easily go over your usual calorie intake if you are on some kind of a restrictive diet. Add a bottle of coke or a glass of beer and you are way over your daily needs. That is one of the reasons why they gain weight, along with junk food and lack of physical activity. They are adding unnecessary calories during the day and the end result is increased weight and body fat.

I’ve taken the most popular salads for this article and added the number of calories based on the usual portion. I just want to add one thing so I don’t add it to each paragraph separately: you can easily reduce the number of calories in salads by changing the dressing. In restaurants, you can always ask them to put olive oil only or to use a mix of low-fat yogurt with some spices. But trust me, the safest way is to go with olive oil. And if you are somewhere for the first time, you can ask them not to use any dressing so you can add olive oil to your on.

Garden Salad

This is one of the easiest salads to make and goes when with almost every meat-based meal or as an appetiser. For this salad, you’ll need:

  • 4 cups of mixed greens – 36 calories
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – 25 calories
  • 1/2 cup of cucumbers – 8 calories
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red onion – 32 calories
  • 1/2 cup of sliced carrots – 26 calories
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil – 6 calories
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil -180 calories (you’re not gonna drink olive oil so you won’t add this many calories to your daily intake)
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar – 8 calories (you can use lemon juice as well)
  • salt and pepper to taste (this won’t affect total amount)

The total amount of calories in this salad is 321, which is not much because this is enough for 2 persons as a side salad. If we take out the olive oil that we won’t drink from the bowl, we are probably talking about 200 – 250 calories. This is a great, refreshing, and healthy salad that won’t affect our daily calorie intake much, and it will provide a lot of benefits to our bodies.

Capresse Salad

Italians are probably most proud of their kitchen and that’s the reason. They are one of the nations with the longest life expectancy and they probably owe that to their well-balanced kitchen. Italy is not just about pasta or pizza, they are much much more. I personally love their perfect balance of spices and the chance to feel each ingredient separately. Caprese salad is one of the easiest to make but it’s enough to replace the meal. The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 2 medium tomatoes – 44 calories
  • 5-6 oz of mozzarella – around 150 calories
  • 1/3 cup of basil leaves – 8 calories
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil – 90 calories
  • salt and pepper to taste (this won’t affect total amount)

The total number of calories is 292 which again is not too much if you are eating this as an appetizer for example. If you want this to be your meal replacement feel free to add more tomatoes and mozzarella. And one extra tip, if you are preparing this for friends and want to give it a restaurant vibe, drizzle it with balsamic vinegar. As I mentioned, really easy to make but also really tasty.

Greek Salad

While we are in Europe, it would be a shame not to visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Those miles of sand beaches, beautiful sunsets, and a really nice climate are just a few things this country can offer. A lot of tourists are thinking that Greece food is all about the gyros and moussaka but that is simply not true. Greek salad is one of the most popular salads. There are a lot of variations based on this salad across the world, but only one can be named Greek.

I was looking for a recipe a few months ago to check something and it hurled me a lot. The results shown in the search were everything except greek salad. People are using pasta in this salad, adding tuna, lettuce, or eggs. That is not a greek salad and Greece doesn’t deserve this. Here are the original ingredients and that’s all it needs:

  • 1 medium tomato – 22 calories
  • 1/2 cup of cucumbers – 8 calories
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onion – 16 calories
  • 1 green pepper – 25 calories
  • 10 olives – 40 calories
  • 4 oz of Greek feta cheese – 304 calories (this can vary because people call different types of cheese feta cheese)
  • oregano and salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil – 135 calories

The total number of calories is 550. This is enough for one person and honestly, this one can easily push you off the limit if you are on a specific diet. Feel free to add more vegetables, but feta cheese is high in calories so be careful. As a salad to replace the entire meal that is more than ok but as a side salad that might be too much.

Caesar Salad

Well, if there needs to be one salad to rule them all, that would probably be caesar salad. This is probably the most popular salad in the world and probably the one with the most variations. Everyone is trying to make it a bit different and take some credit for the best version of it. It would be hard to get the exact number of calories in the sauce so I will just add 2 choices. One is with olive oil only and the other is with low-fat greek yogurt and a bit of mustard. Restaurants can add plenty of mayo, some can claim it’s homemade, but be careful with this. This is the safest and easiest way to track your calorie intake.

There are tons of variations as I mentioned and you can get all kinds of caesar salads. One of the most popular is chicken caesar salad but I’m gonna do another article on those variations and recipes. People are also making tuna caesar salad, pasta caesar salad, and others. Honestly, no need to do that, please stop. I need to take a photo of every step so it can be easier for you to prepare.

So, with no further ado, its greatness, caesar salad:

  • 1 medium lettuce salad (head of lettuce) – 75 calories
  • 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese (you can use more) – 22 calories
  • 2 oz of croutons – 200 calories
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil – 135

So, this healthier version of caesar salad contains 432 calories but as said above, you won’t be drinking olive oil. Using the same amount of dressing probably won’t change too much regarding the number of calories, but it will definitely be a less healthy solution.

Counting calories or being on a restrictive diet is never easy. There is just too much math involved and too much science. If you are trying to get info online, you’ll be even more confused. Don’t eat meat, eat meat, don’t eat fruits, eat lots of fruits, fat is bad, fat is the best, and so on. And remember, the number of calories in small side salad with dressing doesn’t need to be low.

The best thing to do is to listen to your body and have a well-balanced diet. Every type of macronutrient is important. Try to reduce the size of portions, don’t eat overnight, reduce the number of calories from sugars, and try to walk more and you’ll be fine. If your goal is to lose weight, do not expect overnight results. But the ones you get are gonna be much more appreciated because you will know that you did a great thing for your body.

Stay motivated and keep following our blog, there will be more content about all kinds of topics you might find helpful. And I promise I’ll add some real photos soon. Just need to find enough time to take my camera out for a ride. And occasionally, it’s no shame to have a cheat day and enjoy your favorite street food. After all, we are all humans and we all have a right to make a mistake from time to time. And this can even be a good thing, you won’t crave something, and the bigger the chances are you will succeed in your goals. Best of luck!

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