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Salad For Breakfast: What You Gain By Not Waiting Until Later

Healthy salad with avocado, corn salad, smoky salmon, eggs and tomatoes for breakfast.

Americans usually eat salad at lunch or dinner, but a current food trend involves salad for breakfast. A North Texas dietitian says this can be a great way to get a healthy start.

Isabella Ferrari, a registered dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, says it really doesn’t matter what items you choose for breakfast as long they come from three certain groups: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 

“Something that I would like to try," Ferrari said. "is just spinach, strawberries, cottage cheese and walnuts. Walnuts can be the healthy fats, protein which is the cottage cheese, and then you have your carbs which is the fruit and the spinach.”

Ferrari says salad is a way to avoid a high-fat, high-sugar breakfasts like waffles or pancakes. It’s also a good source of fiber – most people don’t get enough of it. And it can help with weight loss.

Just be careful, she said, to avoid high-fat salad dressings. Make your own, if you can, like olive oil with lime or lemon juice. Also, stay away from meats high in sodium, such as bacon or ham. 


How salad for breakfast can help with weight loss: “Fiber can help with that just because you don't feel hungry, so you're not going to overeat. The salad's going to usually have less calories than other breakfast so you're probably going to lose some weight. It's a great benefit." 

How often should you eat a salad for breakfast?  “I don't think there's a limit. I think sometimes if people eat too much fiber they can start also having G.I. problems or going to the bathroom a little more than normal. But that depends on the person. And usually we don't get enough fiber. We need like from 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. And I think the national average right now is like you know like 12 to 15 or something." 

Salad for breakfast: "Better than traditional breakfast or just an interesting alternative? “It depends on what you were eating before. If you were normally eating like a bowl of cereal for breakfast, then I would say salad would be the best thing to do. If you were having, you know, two eggs with whole wheat bread and maybe a serving of fruit, I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference. But it's a thing to think about, especially if you don't eat salads during the day.” 


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Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.