12 protein-packed salad toppings that will keep you full through dinner

RIP chintzy salads

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The salad conundrum

We all feel like we "should" eat salad at lunch. It's the epitome of stereotypical health food: Raw, filled with vegetables, generally not delicious. And more often than not, Salad Day turns into Binge Day when you find yourself starving an hour after lunch.

Actual footage of me eating salad, via GIPHY


That's because you probably just ate a salad sans protein and/or fat. No matter how many fiber-rich vegetables you put in your facehole, you will never feel full unless you mix in protein. The addition of protein and healthy fat is the only way all that fiber, vitamins, and minerals can be absorbed into your system.

Here are a few protein-packed additions to add to your salad and keep you full through dinner. (Plus, the best part of a salad is the tasty add-ons, amirite?)

1. Pile on Omega-3-rich salmon

Salmon packs about 22 grams of protein per 3-ounce grilled fillet, so layer a nice piece atop a Greek salad for a tasty twist that will last you through the afternoon.

2. Don't forget the cheese

Cheese has gotten a bad rap for its high fat content, but we often forget how good it is for us, too. Mozzarella is great on salads, has a load of calcium and 8 grams of protein per ounce. This is a guilt-free reason to load your salad with fresh mozzarella balls.

3. Adjust your egg-spectations

A single egg has 6 grams of protein. Add some yolky depth to your salad with a soft-boiled one, or boil a bunch on Sunday for easy salad prep that will last well through the week.

4. Sneak in Chia seeds

Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses, with 5 grams of protein per ounce and a ton of fiber, omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. Whisk a handful of the seeds into a lemon vinaigrette for a filling addition you won't even taste.

5. Always keep shrimp on hand

Americans love shrimp, and luckily, a three-ounce serving of it provides nearly 12 grams of protein. Keep a bag of uncooked, shelled shrimp in the freezer so you're always able to quickly defrost them on the stove for a hearty addition to your salads.

6. Ham it up

Prosciutto is the ultimate salad topping: It's packed with flavor, and has about 6 grams of protein per ounce. Pile paper-thin slices atop arugula and figs for a salty-sweet, satisfying salad.

7. Try a bean salad

A salad that's chock full of beans will keep your belly full. That's because black beans and chickpeas each pack 20 grams of protein per half cup. Mix the two in a southwest salad, or if you don't love beans, add a dollop of hummus atop your salad instead.

8. Go nuts

Nuts are a great, vegan source of protein. Almonds have 6 grams per ounce and pair wonderfully with a berry salad and balsamic vinaigrette. Walnuts are also a solid pick with loads of omega-3's and four grams of protein per ounce.

9. Slice up leftover steak

This one is a no-brainer: Steak is packed full of protein, and just generally makes any salad more delicious. This black and blue steak salad will make you forget that you're even eating vegetables.

10. Give quinoa a try

Quinoa is gluten-free, high in fiber and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, meaning it's a complete protein. The seed contains eight grams of protein per cup, making it the perfect addition—or base—to any salad.

11. Whip up a yogurt-based dressing

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, with 15 grams per 6 ounces of yogurt. Using it as a base for a thick, creamy dressing is not only delicious, but bound to stick to your ribs better than fattier dressings.

12. Chicken out

Chicken is the OG of salad protein: You can top literally any salad with it and it will taste better, and keep you fuller longer. This club salad boasts egg, bacon, and chicken, making it as hearty as it is tasty.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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