Should You Eat Your Salad Before or After Your Meal?

Is it true that eating salad after your meal aids in digestion?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. My family has always eaten salad after our meal rather than before. I've heard that this aids in digestion. Is that true?

A. Although most Americans consider salad to be a first course, salads are frequently served after the entrée in Europe. Either way, unless there is a substantial delay between courses, the food will be mixed together during digestion and the order in which you consume it wouldn’t make any difference.

See also: Food Combining Myths

One advantage to eating salad before the meal is that the high water and fiber content of the vegetables takes up space in the stomach even though they are relatively low in calories. Eating salad before a meal usually reduces the total caloric intake for the meal.

See also: How to Eat Less without Feeling Hungry

On the other hand, having your salad after your entree might encourage you to have a smaller helping of the main course, knowing that another course is on the way. Some people also report that eating salad at the end of the meal reduces the desire for dessert. Because it doesn’t affect digestion one way or the other, you can do whichever works best for you.

See Also: How to Make Perfectly Crispy Salads 


Salad image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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