Increasing your veggie intake by chowing on a huge salad is one of the best ways to cut down on calories and drop pounds, but not all salad toppings are created equal. Choose the wrong ones, and your healthy salad quickly turns into a calorie bomb. For those trying to slim down, add these to your bowl of greens.
Photo: Jenny Sugar
This green fruit not only adds a soft and creamy texture to your traditionally crunchy salad, but it also helps you slim down in three ways. For one, it's full of fiber  to fill you up while you're eating so you eat less, but it also keeps you feeling full. The fiber prevents constipation, which can prevent a round and bloated belly. Avocados are also excellent sources of MUFAs (monounsaturated fats), proven to diminish belly fat . This salad buddy is high in calories, so go for one-quarter of the fruit, which adds 80 calories and 3.4 grams of fiber .
All berries offer a high fiber content that makes them filling so you eat less, but blueberries are the one berry proven to diminish belly fat . A quarter-cup serving is 21 calories and 0.9 grams of fiber . And because they're naturally sweet, they may prevent the desire to reach for a treat afterward.
This fruit is high in the fiber pectin, which has been proven to help suppress appetite. Whatever the variety, half a medium pear (with the skin) is about 52 calories and offers 2.8 grams of filling fiber . If you're not a fan of pears, apples are equally good.
Nuts are another source of MUFAs and fiber, but they're also an easy source of protein. A one-eighth cup serving is 80 calories and offers 1.5 grams of fiber and three grams of protein . Plus, the satisfying crunch tricks your brain into believing you're eating something more hearty.
Low energy levels coupled with hunger pangs are sure to send you out for a postsalad pick-me-up. Avoid the energy meltdown by including protein-rich toppings like hard-boiled eggs in your salad. One egg is 78 calories and offers 6.3 grams of protein .
If you crave cheese on your salad, although it's a great source of protein, most are high in fat. Go for low-fat cottage cheese — a quarter-cup serving is only 45 calories (feta cheese has twice that!), and it offers six grams of protein .
Since fiber and protein are a must in filling you up and keeping that full feeling going strong hours after you eat, which prevents snacking, beans are one of the most important salad toppings when it comes to losing weight. Kidney beans have more fiber and protein than chickpeas, so go for the red. A quarter-cup serving offers five grams of fiber and four grams of protein  for 50 calories.
If you've ever felt hungry after downing a huge serving of greens, it's because you need to beef up your bowl with some whole grains. Quinoa will give your salad a boost of protein and fiber. A quarter-cup serving of cooked quinoa is 56 calories, 1.3 grams of fiber, and two grams of protein . Psychologically, it'll help you feel like you're eating more of a meal than just a salad.
Another low-fat protein source, topping your salad with a piece of grilled salmon will keep hunger at bay and energy levels consistent hours after putting down your fork. It's also an excellent source of omega-3s, which not only reduce cholesterol but can also reduce inflammation  to help you recover faster after an intense workout to help build more metabolism-boosting muscles. A small two-ounce serving is 117 calories and adds 12.5 grams of protein  to your meal.
Don't let their tiny size fool you! Chia seeds offer big rewards for those trying to lose weight. Sprinkle a tablespoon on your salad (or stir into your salad dressing ), and for 60 calories, they'll offer four grams of fiber and two grams of protein . Chia seeds are also an excellent source of omega-3s — a one-tablespoon serving offers 150 percent of your daily value.