For the active working woman who works out, hunger is a very real issue. You probably burn more calories than most other people, and that leaves a gnawing hunger that can incessantly distract you from work. This is why just having a salad for lunch or dinner is something most people would think twice about.

That’s absolutely fine, because we have a solution for your problem: Pad that salad out. Yes, there are plenty of food items that you can throw into that lunchtime salad you’ve packed, and many of them will help to fill you up and keep you full till your next meal.

1. Nuts

Not just any plain old nut. Use a good mix of pine nuts, walnuts, almonds and macademia nuts for your salad, and you’ll see benefits including boosts in brain function and heart health. Pick out one to two handfuls of your preferred nuts in roasted or raw form, crush them, and throw them into the salad. Sunflower seeds work just as well.

Don’t: Use sweetened or flavoured versions of those nuts. They add unnecessary simple sugars to your meal!

2. Celery and Carrots

The crunch of raw carrot and celery sticks add texture to your meal to make it more enjoyable. Both vegetables are easy to eat but take super long to digest, so you can consider either adding them to your salad, or having them on the side as snacks after meal. It helps that they are low-calorie food items, which means you can have plenty of them without any guilt.

Don’t: Add a dip for your vegetables! It’s tempting, but it defeats the entire purpose of healthier eating. Dips are usually high in fat and sodium, so they might end up messing with your meal plans.

3. Fruit

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Fruits to consider: blueberries, cherries, apples, and pears. It doesn’t matter what you add; the most important thing is that you enjoy its taste. Have one serving of fruit either mixed into your salad, or post-salad. If you really want more fibre, try something like guavas!

Don’t: replace fruit with fruit juice! Fruit juice is all of the sugar with none of the fibre, so that’s just going to go right into your system with almost no digestion time.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Out of all the possible vegetable items we could recommend, sweet potatoes sit right on top of the list for us. Why? For starters, they’re packed with nutrients (as long as you keep the skin on). But more importantly, this complex carbohydrate fills you up fast, but digests really slowly. You only need about one standard-sized sweet potato in your meal to feel satisfied.

Don’t: Remove the skin of the sweet potato when you cook it. You lose a lot of the nutrients if you do, and that’s a real waste.

5. Legumes

Legumes are great if you want protein in your diet, but don’t want to any meat in your salad. There are a whole bunch of legumes you can try, but we recommend starting with kidney beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, or lentils.

Don’t: Buy canned versions of this vegetable group. It may be more convenient, as canned versions have been pre-cooked, but making them fresh helps keep preservatives out of your salad, and pack more micro-nutrients into your salad.

6. Hard-boiled Egg

A good egg never hurt anyone, and if your lunch needs a bit of power in it, then load it with an egg. While most people balk at the idea of introducing egg cholesterol, it actually helps you out if your lifestyle requires you to do lots of physical activity. If you’re hitting the gym daily, adding an egg to your salad is not a problem.

Don’t: Eat more than two eggs a day! Keep within well-known limits, because even an active person shouldn’t eat more than 14 eggs a week.

7. Lean Protein

You may be tired of having chicken breast in your diet in a bid to stay fitter, so let’s talk about other meats, such as salmon. With the right seasoning, steamed or baked salmon adds great taste to your salad. It’s packed with Omega-3 for brain and heart health too! If you’re not feeling like fish, go for beef. Just buy the sirloin tip side, flank or top round cut for maximum leanness.

Don’t: Add a Ribeye to your salad! Yes, it’s juicy, but it contains way more fat composition than you’d probably like.

Featured image from here.