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Best Time to Eat a Salad: Before, During or After a Meal

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.


A salad is a combination of several ingredients mixed together. There are many different combinations that are served in restaurants and at your table. A vegetable salad may include one or more types of lettuce as its main ingredient. There are also fruit salads, but the purpose of this article is to address the green salads made mainly with vegetables.

Green salads are usually served at a particular time of a meal that could be before the main meal, during the meal, or after the meal. So when should we actually eat our salad for maximum benefits?

Lettuce Is In Most Salads

All green salads include one or more types of lettuce and other greens. Salads could include iceberg or Romaine lettuce or a combination of both. People can add other green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale. Broccoli and cauliflower are nice additions to most salads.

Included also are other vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Fruits, nuts, meat, and cheese enhance the salad and make it more appealing to the palate. Grocery stores sell salad toppings and bacon bits. To keep croutons from becoming soggy, they should be added last and placed on top of the salad.


Before the Meal

Most Americans begin their meals with a salad whether they are dining at home or in a restaurant. Waiters usually ask if the consumer wants to start off with a salad. When people attend a formal affair, the salad is set out first on the table. Of course, guests can save their salad until later if they wish to do it. However, most people dive right in and eat their salad before eating anything else.

Nutritionists believe starting off a meal with a salad helps to reduce the amount of food a person will end up eating. That's because there is roughage to fill up a person quickly. Experts agree that eating a salad before a meal can help people lose weight.

A salad made with lettuce and other greens is a good way for consumers to get their daily intake of vegetables. Eating a salad before the main meal could save diners money on their entree. That's because some people might order a big salad and a much smaller main meal at a lower price.

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During the Meal

If you take a look around some restaurants, you will see that some people eat their salad along with their main meal. In that case, the salad is a side dish.

Olive oil and vinegar might be used for the salad dressing. These two ingredients work together to help with digestion.

After the Meal

Some people enjoy eating their salad after the main entree. They believe it is the best time to eat it in order to have proper digestion because of the fiber in the salad. They also believe the salad will cleanse their palate. That is especially good if they will continue the meal by eating a dessert and drinking wine.


As the Meal

Sometimes people let their entire meal be a nice green salad. This is especially ideal for lunch. When a salad is an entire meal, it might contain more ingredients than when it is eaten as a side dish.

Consumers are free to put different types of lettuce, vegetables and whatever else they like. There are salad bars in some restaurants and major grocery chains. Plenty of choices are there for diners to make their own salad. Sometimes people will decide to eat from the salad bar only instead of choosing an entree from the menu.

Does It Matter When You Eat a Salad?

It really doesn't matter to some people if they eat their salad before, during or after the main course. There is no rule as to when a salad should be eaten. People usually eat their salad the way others in their culture eat it, but it really doesn't matter significantly when a salad is eaten.

As long as you are consuming vegetables on a regular basis, you will receive their benefits no matter when you eat the salad. The timing of eating your salad should be a personal preference instead of doing what everybody else does. The aim is to enjoy the mixture of your favorite ingredients.


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on November 21, 2019:

I usually eat a salad as a meal because when I make a salad, I make a salad! I include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, green peppers, roasted chicken, cheese, dried fruit, nuts, salt, black pepper, oil, and Italian dressing. So good!

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