As people become more health conscious, salad consumption goes up. Unfortunately, you may be doing more harm than good if you drench your salad in dressing. Drenching your salad in dressing ups the fat content and calories, taking your salad from healthy to the equivalent of a fast food meal in minutes. Here are some suggestions on how to monitor your salad dressing serving size and keep those salads good for you!
Monitor Serving Size
On average, the recommended serving size for most salad dressings is two tablespoons. While it might seem a bit extreme, measure it out. You will be surprised to see you probably often put twice that as it’s hard to eyeball the serving amount without actually measuring it.
Don’t Put the Dressing on the Salad
To make your salad a little healthier, consider putting your salad dressing on the side and dipping forkfuls of salad into the dressing versus coating the salad with it. Try putting the same two tablespoons in a side dish and you might be surprised to see you didn’t even use it all. Next time, try scaling back to one tablespoon and see if you even finish that amount. It is so easy to overpour dressing onto the salad and it ends up making the greens soggy, hiding all the flavors in the salad itself, and ultimately adding unnecessary fat and calories.
Avoid Creamy Dressings
The biggest source of fat and calories in salad dressing is from creamy and often times fancy salad dressing flavors. By sticking with oil based dressings, you can cut out a significant amount of fat and empty calories. If you must do a creamy dressing, look for a fat-free alternative. Just note though, many fat-free dressings are higher in carbohydrates, so if you are also monitoring your carb intake, this can quickly add extras to your daily allowance.
Use Salad Spritzers
If the idea of using two tablespoons (or less) of salad dressing and putting it on the side makes you cringe, consider some of the salad spritzers available. You can find them at your grocery store and you just spritz your salad lightly so you get the feeling of the salad dressing coating, but without drenching it and losing the healthy aspect of your meal. There are a number of flavors available and it’s a great way to get the salad dressing flavor on your salad without drowning it.
Use Oil and Vinegar
As I mentioned above, oil and vinegar based dressings are a healthier alternative to creamy salad dressings. If you are cringing and thinking eating an oil and vinegar dressing every day is boring, you might be surprised to learn these can be one of the best ways to dress up your salad, while keeping it healthy.
Try experimenting with different types and flavors of olive oils and vinegars. The quality of the olive oil you are purchasing can really make a difference in the flavor. If you eat salads a lot, splurge on a good oil since it will be the base for your dressing. There are some excellent fruit flavored vinegars on the market that can be tailored to the particular salad you are making and then add an herbal flavored olive oil for a little kick. Try making salads that contain large fruit chunks and matching the vinegar to the flavor profile of the salad. It’s a wonderful way to make salad fun again.