Is Caprese Salad Good for Weight Loss?

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Classic Italian Caprese salad Is Caprese Salad Good for Weight Loss?

The short answer is yes, caprese salad is good for weight loss. Because it is low in carbs and has ingredients that will fill you up quicker, which means it can support your weight loss efforts.

Just don’t eat it in excess.

As a nutritionist, I am a big advocate for adding salads to your meal, at least for lunch or dinner, (preferably both). I know many of you hate the word “salad” itself.

But it doesnt have to be a boring tasteless salad that you eat like it’s some bitter medicine.

You can make it tasty and keep it healthy at the same time.

Caprese salad is one of them. Let’s see how it fits in a weight loss diet.

Ingredients and Nutritional Value

The traditional Caprese salad calls for the following ingredients, all of which are readily available in grocery stores:

  • Ripe tomatoes – 2 medium-sized

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese – 4 ounces

  • Fresh basil leaves – ¼ cup

  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Balsamic vinegar – 1 tablespoon

But did you know that there are variations to the traditional Caprese salads? Some people like to add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.

Others like to add a touch of sweetness by adding sliced peaches or strawberries.

You can even add a bit of crunch by sprinkling some pine nuts or croutons on top. The possibilities are endless!

Nutritional Breakdown of Caprese Salad

Let’s get to the meat of the matter (or should I say cheese?). How many calories are we talking about here? 1 cup (161g) of Caprese salad (made with the above ingredients) will give you:

  • Calories – 220

  • Protein – 13g

  • Fat – 17g

  • Carbohydrates – 4.7g

  • Fiber – 1.1g

  • Sodium – 439mg

  • Monounsaturated: Fat 6.7g

  • Saturated Fat 7.9g

Now, before you start hyperventilating about the fat content, remember that not all fats are created equal.

The fats in extra virgin olive oil and cheese are the good kind, which means you can enjoy your Caprese salad guilt-free.

Also read: Is Pasta Salad Good for Weight Loss?

Potential Benefits of Caprese Salad for Weight Loss

You Can Use it As a Meal Replacement

A plate divided in half, one side filled with twisted pasta and the other with a neatly arranged Caprese salad composed of slices of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves.

I saw many articles on the internet saying that Caprese salad is low in calories therefore it is good for weight loss.

It’s actually not that low in calories. An average serving has 220 calories as you can see.

It’s not a bad thing. Because you can use this for your own benefit while trying to lose weight by replacing a part of a higher-calorie meal.

For example, let’s say you eat an average lunch of 600 calories, now if you cut that in half and replace the void with Caprese salad, your overall caloric intake will be reduced.

Let’s quickly do the math: 600 – 300 + 220 = 520 kcal.

As you can see, this substitution can help you create the caloric deficit necessary for weight loss without leaving you feeling “angry”

Also read: Is Egg Salad Good for Weight Loss?

It Can Make You Feel Fuller

A contented woman sitting at a table, her eyes closed in appreciation as she sits in front of a plate of Caprese salad, with her hand gently resting on her cheek.

Nutritionists like me always like to tell their clients. “you must portion control”. And the client replies “I am trying my best”

Let me give you some good news. If you start your meal with a Caprese salad, you’ll likely feel full sooner and eat less of your main course.

This is portion control in action without you even having to try!

This natural form of portion control is much more sustainable than trying to eat smaller portions while ignoring hunger cues, which I know can be frustrating and unsustainable.

The combination of the water content of tomatoes, the protein in mozzarella, and the healthy fats from olive oil works synergistically to trigger the stomach’s stretch receptors.

These receptors then signal the brain that you’re full, releasing hormones like cholecystokinin that promote satiety.

It Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

A plate of Caprese salad with a "Low Glycemic" check mark superimposed in the center, suggesting the meal is healthy and has a low impact on blood sugar levels.

The Low Glycemic Index (GI) ingredients in a Caprese salad are beneficial for weight management because they don’t cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Foods that are low on the GI scale release glucose more slowly and steadily, which can prevent the sudden drop in blood sugar that typically leads to hunger and cravings.

By incorporating a Caprese salad into your diet, you may help keep your appetite in check and reduce the likelihood of experiencing the highs and lows that can lead to overeating.

This stability is particularly beneficial for individuals looking to lose weight, as it can help manage the cycle of cravings and snacking that often derails diet plans.

Also read: Are Protein Pancakes Good for Weight Loss?

Potential Drawbacks of Caprese Salad for Weight Loss

You Can Trick Yourself To Overeat

A woman sitting on a couch, looking thoughtfully at a plate of Caprese salad on a coffee table, holding a fork mid-air, with a smartphone beside the plate.

Even though the sources of calories are healthy, you still risk loading in too many of them.

Because the thing with calories is that whether they are from nutritious sources or not, they count towards energy intake.

Some people may even buy into the common misconception that ‘healthy’ or ‘salad’ foods can be eaten in unlimited quantities.

However, weight management is a balance of calories consumed versus calories used.

Overeating Caprese salad, with its caloric content largely coming from mozzarella cheese and olive oil, could lead to an excess caloric intake, hindering weight loss efforts.

That’s why moderation is key, even with healthy foods.

Adding Certain Ingredients May Negate The Benefits

Close-up of hands pouring maple syrup over a Caprese salad, highlighting the drizzle of syrup and capturing the detail of the fresh ingredients.

A traditional Caprese salad is a simple combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and seasoning.

Let’s say you are not a big fan of this and you chose to add some of your favorite ingredients such as syrups, fruits, or honey. This can increase the sugar and calorie content.

These additions can transform a Caprese salad from a weight-loss-friendly dish to one that is not so weight-loss-friendly.

You have to be mindful of the ingredients added to the salad so that it doesnt de-rail your weight loss efforts.

Sticking to the original, simple ingredients of a Caprese salad is important to retain its health benefits and avoid unintentionally turning it into a high-calorie dish.

Also Read: Are Devilled Eggs Good for Weight Loss?

Tips For Incorporating Caprese Salad in a Weight Loss Diet

Use it to Replace High-Calorie Meals

I am not saying that you have to replace your whole lunch or dinner with Caprese salad.

Just that you can use it to replace at least a part of it especially when you know what you are eating is high in calories.

For example, let’s say you ordered a pizza, and if you eat the whole thing you would be taking in 700 calories.

So now if you only eat half of it and replace the other half with caprese salad, you not only stay within your daily caloric limit but would also be creating a deficit.

I must say, this is not a license for you to eat all kinds of high-carb, high-calorie meals.

Rather, it’s a tactic to be used mindfully on occasions when you are eating out or wish to indulge moderately without completely derailing your weight loss efforts.

This approach allows for flexibility in your diet, making it more sustainable to maintain over time, while also helping you enjoy social meals without guilt.

Use it as a Snack or Appetizer

Starting your meal with a Caprese salad can curb your appetite, leading to less consumption of higher-calorie foods later on.

It’s a tactic that leverages volume eating – filling up on lower-calorie foods that take up more space in your stomach.

This is a positive habit to adopt, especially if you tend to reach for processed snacks that offer little nutritional value and may lead to a spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar levels, causing you to eat more.

Add Lean Protein to Your Caprese Salad

Protein-rich foods have a high satiety value, which means they can make you feel full and satisfied for a longer period.

So when you add a protein source to your caprese salad, you are not only getting the benefits of protein but you’ll also be helping yourself out by feeling more satisfied with what you are eating.

Some protein-rich foods you can add to your salad are things like grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, prawns, etc.

Use Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese To Reduce Calorie Count

Opting for a lower-fat version of mozzarella cheese can decrease the salad’s calorie and fat content without compromising on taste.

This small change can add up, especially if you consume Caprese salad regularly.

It’s a way to enjoy the creamy texture and subtle flavor of the cheese, while still aligning with your weight loss goals.

Increase Fiber Content for Satiety

Fiber slows down digestion, which can help control blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer.

Adding vegetables like spinach, arugula, or bell peppers not only increases the fiber content but also adds volume and variety to the salad.

This way, you’re eating a larger, more satisfying meal without significantly increasing the calorie count.

Use a Light Dressing

The dressing can make or break the healthfulness of a salad.

Traditional Caprese salads are dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which are healthy in moderation.

However, using a light touch with the dressing or opting for reduced balsamic vinegar can provide the flavor you crave without the extra calories.

The key is to enhance the salad without overwhelming it with excess fat and sugar, which can quickly turn a healthy salad into something less suitable for weight loss.

Also read: Is Guacamole Good for Weight Loss?

The Verdict

So, is Caprese salad good for weight loss? The answer is yes.

Its satiety-inducing nutrients make it a good choice to include for people trying to lose weight.

Just be sure to practice portion control and make modifications if needed to fit your specific weight loss goals.


Here are some more answers to your questions if you are still curious to learn more about this delicacy.

Is Caprese salad good for diet?

Yes, Caprese salad can be good for a diet, as it typically consists of fresh ingredients like tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.

However, watch your portion sizes and the amount of oil and cheese you use.

How many calories does a Caprese salad have?

A typical Caprese salad has around 220 calories per cup, but this can vary depending on the size of the salad and the amount of oil and cheese used.

Is Caprese salad high in fat?

Yes. Caprese salad is high in fat due to the mozzarella cheese and olive oil. However, these are sources of healthy fats, which can be beneficial when consumed in moderation. You can also make a low-fat version by adding less olive oil.

Is tomato and mozzarella healthy?

Yes, tomatoes and mozzarella are healthy when consumed in moderation. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while mozzarella provides protein and healthy fats.

How many calories are in a Caprese salad?

Caprese salad has around 220 calories per cup, but this can vary depending on the ingredients and portion sizes.

Is eating Caprese salad healthy?

Yes, eating Caprese salad is healthy, as it contains nutrient-dense ingredients. Just be mindful of the portion sizes and the amount of cheese and oil you consume.

How many calories are in a Trader Joe’s Caprese salad?

The calorie count for a Trader Joe’s Caprese salad can vary depending on the specific product and serving size. It’s best to check the nutrition label on the package for accurate calorie information.

How many calories are in tomato and mozzarella?

The calories in tomato and mozzarella can vary depending on the serving size and preparation. A medium-sized tomato has approximately 22 calories, while a 1-ounce (28g) serving of mozzarella cheese has around 69 calories.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Rahul is a professional nutritionist certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and a personal trainer certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He has a special interest in the science of nutrition and how it can impact the body.

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