Ask Calorie Ken: Salads Not Satiating

By , Columnist

Dear Calorie Ken,  I eat salads to lose weight, but it does not work, and I always feel hungry. What am I doing wrong?  

Sick of Salad in Stowe 

Dear Sicka Salad,

Calorie Ken assumes you mean green salads, so he will focus on them today. 

Without fail, while a volunteer in the Tufts CALERIE study, when people noticed my weight loss, or I told them about the study, the first thing they would say is, "I bet you eat a lot of salads." My response, "Actually, no, I don't," always surprised them.

There are many weight management myths, and one is the assumption that salads are a good "diet" choice. Sure lettuce is good for you, but it is hardly more than water with an erection, and it tastes like nothing. The reality is, a salad can easily contain a large percentage, or even all, of your total daily calorie requirement, and you won't even notice. 

Eat a salad thinking you are doing a good thing, and two hours later, you are hungry again and you go for that chocolate chip cookie, or, if you are a salt junkie like me, the peanuts. Double Whammy! You scarfed down too many calories at lunch, and now you've compounded the damage with a high-calorie afternoon snack attack.

It's the things we put on our green salads that make them enjoyable, but those things also load 'em up with calories. For a green salad to be a good choice, you absolutely must know the exact amount of every ingredient, and the only way to know that is to make it yourself and measure, measure, measure as you do. And, when eating out, even if you ask for dressing on the side, or you belly up to the salad bar, unless you carry measuring spoons and cups and use them scrupulously, you won't know for sure how many calories are in that salad you thought was a good choice.

Stowe, Vermont is the swankiest of New England villages and ski resorts. Transform yourself into Swanky in Stowe by transforming your salad. Squeeze on some lemon or lime juice. Toss with apple cider vinegar instead of dressing. Add protein with a serving (about the size of a deck of cards) of grilled chicken breast, salmon, or tofu. Try Kellogg's All-Bran Buds instead of croutons for crunchiness and added fiber. Grind some pepper and sprinkle on some of Calorie Ken's favorite Lawry's Garlic Salt with Parsley, and enjoy a calorific salad.


Swanky reader, Calorie Ken wants to hear from you!  Post your comments below, and send your questions to  And, tell others!  Post on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn...everywhere, and share with your e-mail distribution lists. We hope to make Calorie Ken the Dear Abby of good health and nutrition, and we need your help.  Cheers! 

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For two years, Ken Brooks (Calorie Ken) was a volunteer in the Tufts University CALERIE Study. He is now a nutrition evangelist. Send your nutrition, weight management, general health and exercise questions to

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