I Ate a Big Salad For Dinner Every Night For a Week, and My Bloating Dramatically Decreased
For years, I've been meal-prepping mason-jar salads for lunch, just to make sure I always eat one huge salad every day — gotta get in those greens and veggies! It's been getting chillier here, though, and one day I was craving something warmer and heartier, and I ended up eating leftover veggie soup for lunch instead. Then I ate my enormous salad for dinner, plus a smaller portion of the dinner I made for my family. That night I felt lighter and less bloated and wanted to see how I'd feel if I ate a big salad for dinner every night for one week. Would there be other benefits? Keep reading to find out what happened.
What I Ate For Dinner
As usual, I meal prepped five or six mason-jar salads for the week, made with red cabbage, shredded carrots, red and yellow peppers, celery, cucumbers, and sugar snap peas. I added greens to a huge bowl (a serving-size bowl!), poured the jar of veggies on top, and added fresh berries, beans, and some seeds and drizzled balsamic vinegar on top since I'm avoiding oil.
Although the salad was very filling, I also enjoyed a little of whatever vegan dinner I made for the rest of the family. Sometimes it was a pasta dish like vegan lasagna, or roasted sweet potatoes with peppers and tofu, or black bean and rice tacos.
Eating Salad For Dinner Made Me Less Bloated
I liked starting with my salad and would eat about three-quarters of it before moving on to the other part of my meal. I noticed after this week of eating a big salad as my meal, I felt full and satisfied but never experienced that gross, uncomfortable, too-full feeling. I loved that I could sit down and enjoy a huge meal, which made me feel emotionally satisfied! Previously, when eating heavier dinners like curry and rice or a veggie burger, I'd want to eat a big portion to feel satisfied, but that often left me feeling bloated.
I often added fruit to my salad, so I found I wasn't craving anything sweet after dinner. I truly felt really satisfied, yet light, which typically inspired a family walk after dinner.
Eating Salad For Dinner Helped Me Sleep Better
Even though I was eating such a huge bowl of veggies and feeling completely full afterward, my stomach still felt lighter. It was easier to digest than, say, a few pieces of homemade whole-wheat veggie pizza or a bean and sweet potato burrito. I wasn't bloated after dinner and always finished eating by 6:30/7 p.m., so when I went to bed, I slept better not having to deal with any gas pains or other discomfort that I often had before.
Eating Salad For Dinner Made Me More Energetic
Since I was saving my salad for dinner, for lunch, I meal prepped more filling meals like bean and veggie soups with homemade sourdough bread (my husband bakes too!) or rice and beans with steamed broccoli. I liked filling up on such hearty foods in the middle of the day and was surprised I felt so energetic and focused.
By dinnertime, even though I always have an afternoon snack, I didn't find I was as hungry as I was when I ate a salad for lunch, which I realize now is why I often overate at dinner. Eating a lighter dinner also helped me feel energetic until bed, instead of logy. So many benefits!
Salad For Dinner Didn't Just Benefit Me
Another bonus I discovered about eating salad for dinner is that it inspired me to serve salad with dinner for the rest of my family. They enjoyed a smaller bowl, but it helped everyone get in more veggies! I got creative with the toppings (sautéed chickpeas were a family fave) so every night my salad looked different and was enticing and delicious.
I'm so glad I tried this dinner-salad experiment, because now I prefer eating my huge salad at night. It's always good to try new things when it comes to eating because you never know what might work better!