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When to Eat a Salad: Before or During a Meal?

The Best Time to Eat a Salad: Before or During a Meal?

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This week I did some research on salad — maybe you too have noticed salads starting to pop up on summer menus? Here is the questions: Is it worth ordering a salad before your main meal or serving a salad before/with a meal?

Researchers, in a 2012 study reported in the journal of Appetite, served participants either a salad before a pasta meal or during it. Here are the results:

People ate 11% less of the pasta meal when a salad was served at any juncture (during or before the pasta meal).
People ate 23% more vegetables when a salad was served before rather than with the pasta meal.

The point? If you want to increase your vegetable intake, this study suggests serving a salad before the main course. If you are attempting to eat less/increase your satiety level, serving a salad anytime — before or with a meal can help a lot.

New, Mindful Twist on Summer Salads: Try what is called a "composed salad" What's the difference between a salad and a composed salad? It comes from the French word, "salade composée," Basically, a composed salad is salad ingredients arranged on a plate rather than tossed in a bowl. Also, it is drizzled with dressing or olive oil instead of tossed in. Use vegetables, herbs, fruits, cheese, eggs, nuts, fish, meat, even slices of grilled bread. Not only does this look elegant and artful but it can be more enticing laid out in this mindful manner. It helps mindful eating too because you know exactly what is inside this salad — rather than ingredients hidden under dressing.

For a FREE download of 5 Surprising Ways to Eat Mindfully go to Get free bonuses when you order Dr. Albers' new book, 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.

Dr. Albers is a psychologist and New York Times Bestselling author of EatQ. She is often quoted in Shape, Fitness, Health Magazine and was a guest on Dr. Oz

*Salad and satiety. The effect of timing of salad consumption on meal energy intake. Roe LS, Meengs JS, Rolls BJ. Appetite. 2012 Feb;58(1):242-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.10.003.