SUMMER FRESH SALADS PACKED WITH PROTEIN (AND UNDER 500 CALORIES!)

Reaching your goal weight is often a lot easier in the summer months when you’re already craving nutritious, low-calorie dishes like fresh salads. But, as you may have realized during your goal weight research, not all salads are automatically low in calories—add the wrong dressing and suddenly you’re eating the equivalent of a burger and fries! We’ve made the struggle a little easier for you: here are 3 delicious summer fresh salad recipes that are packed with protein and are all 500 calories or less.

Broccoli Slaw Salad: 313 Calories

A creamy and refreshing salad for those hot summer days, this broccoli and chicken slaw from Pop Sugar is just 313 calories and still offers over 34 grams of protein! Plus, the recipe calls for our power ingredient, apple cider vinegar, which has healthy bacteria that works wonders for your immune system and pH levels, among many other benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (power ingredient!)

  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled

  • 2 cups broccoli slaw

  • 2 ounces chicken breast, grilled or baked

  • 1 teaspoon sliced green onions

Directions:

1. Mix up yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and blue cheese crumbles in a bowl.

2. With the broccoli slaw in a separate bowl, add the dressing mix and stir until all the slaw is coated evenly.

3. Add your baked or grilled chicken breast slices to the top of your slaw, sprinkle with green onions and enjoy!

Asian-Style Grilled Tofu with Greens: 220 Calories

Now for all of those vegetarians out there: a fresh, Asian-inspired salad with possibly the best tofu you’ve ever had. Not only is a half-cup serving of tofu only 94 calories but it also contains 10 grams of protein and 44% of daily calcium needs. Along with tofu’s other benefits of vitamin K, manganese, selenium, this recipe from WebMD includes a tangy vinaigrette and the added bonus of edamame for an extra protein boost. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup prepared carrot juice

  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 28 ounces water-packed firm tofu, drained and rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon black bean-garlic sauce

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 10 ounces mixed Asian greens, or baby spinach

  • 1 small radish, thinly sliced

  • Edamame or peashoots (optional)

Directions:

First, prepare dressing: Puree carrot, carrot juice, miso, vinegar, oil, ginger and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Then prepare that yummy tofu. Slice each tofu block crosswise into 5 slices; pat dry with paper towels. Combine honey, oil, soy sauce, black bean-garlic sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Spread half the marinade in a large baking dish and top with the tofu slices. Spread the remaining marinade over the tofu, covering completely.

Next, preheat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack. Grill the tofu until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. To serve, toss greens with the dressing. Divide among 6 plates and top with the tofu.

Baby Kale Salad: 414 Calories

A super-food salad loaded with protein, your body will instantly rejoice the moment you sink your teeth into a forkful of this baby kale salad, also from Pop Sugar. With nearly 30 grams of protein and just 414 calories, prepare yourself for your latest healthy addiction!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (can replace with honey)

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (replace with saffron, our power ingredient!)

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • 2 large sweet potatoes

  • 2 firm apples

  • 1 cucumber

  • 8 cups fresh baby kale

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon chopped salted peanuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, red pepper flakes and ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 cup water in a wide saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the saucepan in a single layer and cook over medium-low until cooked through. Move chicken to a plate and let cool. Shred chicken. Reserve liquid.

2. Add sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes, to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Move to a plate and let cool. Reserve liquid.

3. Cut apples into small matchstick sliced. Peel cucumber and cut into thin slices. Add all greens, chicken, sweet potatoes and sesame oil to a large bowl and toss with the reserved liquid and remaining lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the peanuts, if desired, and serve.

BLT Salad: 204 Calories

A really low-cal salad that still boasts that ingredient you love so much—bacon! This BLT salad from skinnytaste still offers 10 grams of protein and will be incredibly satisfying if you happen to be a fan of the classic Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwich. You can even get the bun in the form of some croutons, if desired.

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices lean bacon, cooked and chopped

  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise

  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

  • Dash of fresh black pepper

  • 6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

  • 1 medium avocado, diced

Directions:

Combine diced tomatoes and mayonnaise in a large bowl and season with salt and cracked pepper. Set aside for about 10 minutes while the tomatoes release their juiciness. Add the chopped lettuce and sprinkle with diced avocado and chopped bacon.

As you can see, eating healthy salads doesn’t always have to mean skimping out on tasty ingredients. When it comes to these choices, tasting good and looking good are one in the same.

Photos: id-art / Shutterstock, Pop Sugar, Visionsi / Shutterstock, Pop SugarMyFitnessPal.com via Skinnytaste

1 Comment

  • Chris Bonilla August 6, 2015

    Is there any info on how many servings each recipe yields? The last recipe racks up serious calories between the 12 slices of bacon and medium avocado.

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