So we got the memo to eat more veggies. We are incorporating more salads in to our diet. In our minds we are doing well, except it may not be as simple as that. A salad can quickly go from healthy to unhealthy if you are not careful with the ingredients especially the dressing – the type and quantity. I still have memories of this avocado dressing from Chick-fil-A that was over 300 calories in one innocent sachet.
There are generally two types of salad dressings: creamy and vinaigrettes. Vinaigrettes are usually healthier/lower in calories than the cream based types. The findings from my research of the labels of 3 popular salad dressings support this claim. Per 2 tablespoons serving size
|Calories||Total fat||Total carb.|
|Kraft Thousand island||130||12 g||4 g|
|Hidden Valley Ranch||160||14 g||2 g|
|Ken’s Vinaigrette||100||10 g||3 g|
Side Note: this could be a good science fair project for my son Nathan next year:)
As always, I share strategies you can implement so you are not ruining your salads with the dressing choice.
- Read the label if buying. Ensure sugar content is below 5 g per serving (5 grams is about a teaspoon of sugar). Total fat of 10 g or less per serving is advisable. Look out for words such as “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on the label. Such indicate trans-fats. No Bueno. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Words you can’t pronounce on the label are usually not a good sign.
- No “sese” salad. My hubby makes “sese” out of his salad. I silently cringe every time I see him drench his plate with his favorite Thousand Island. I don’t say anything because he has made a huge improvement from the fufu dinners, but whatever dressing you use, you should drizzle not drench. Measuring the quantity of the dressing can be a good idea. 2 tablespoons is okay.
- Nothing is free in FAT-FREE. Fat-free dressing may be lower in calories, but when they take out the fat, they usually replace it with other (not-so-good) things to help with the flavor. Enter High Fructose Corn Syrup – no thanks!
- Make your own! Homemade is always the healthiest, best tasting and most cost effective option in my opinion. You get to control the quality of the ingredients if you make your own.
Ever since I discovered this vinaigrette recipe, the frequency of my consumption of salads has increased significantly. It is super easy to make. With an empty jar and a few ingredients, you probably may already have in the pantry, you can whip up this “Yummilicious” dressing in a jiffy anytime. I share the recipe below, but if you remember nothing else, remember this: one-part vinegar, two-parts oil. I like mine tangy. For a less tangy vinaigrette, use 3 parts oil and one-part vinegar. Anything else is optional. Another quick way to dress your salad is to toss it lightly with a good olive oil, then squeeze a little lemon or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it. Toss with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and you are good to go.
YUMMILICIOUS VINAIGRETTE RECIPE
Per 1 tablespoon:72 cal. 8g total fat. 1 g total carb
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 – 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (less tangy to tangy)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh-ground black pepper
1 table spoon Dijon mustard
Optional: 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoon minced fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried herbs, spoonful of honey or brown sugar
Pour oil and vinegar in a glass jar with a screw top. Add salt, black pepper. and any optional ingredients. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Note that the oil in the vinaigrette can cause it to solidify if stored in the fridge. Just let the dressing sit outside at room temperature and always shake well before using.
If you make it, be sure to let me know!