Healthy Eating: Salad Dressing
Addison looked at herself in the mirror on Valentine’s Day, and decided that it was time to change the image that was staring back at her. Sure, she was alone, but worse than that – she was tired of feeling bad about herself. Every season, along with the new season’s clothing came an increase in the size of clothes purchased. It was time to begin eating better; it was time to get back to a healthy weight.
Trips to the grocery store involved long lengths of time in the produce section. Every meal out meant ordering from the salad menu. She craved pizza, and forced herself to swallow a garden salad, choking it down with a soda (not the healthiest of drinks, but small steps, right?). She kind of hated it, but knew it was better for her than her previous diet.
A week later, she stepped on the scale, eager to see how much weight she had lost. To her horror, she had gained half a pound.
But how had that happened? All she had eaten was salad. Those crisp, clean, fresh vegetables were healthy and hardly had any calories! Her body must just hate her.
Oh, well. She had tried to be healthy and all it had resulted in was a weight gain. She might as well eat what she wanted. Pulling out her cell phone, she ordered a large pizza – extra cheese, extra pepperoni – and plopped down on the couch. After grabbing the remote, she turned on a vapid teenage dramedy – might as well watch beautiful, skinny girls since she would never be one.
There are a few things that Addison did wrong in the completely fictional account just told, but I want to focus on the weight gain that exasperated her after a week of striving to eat well. Wanting to eat better is an admirable goal, and the idea of incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into her diet is a great way to start. There is, however, one evil that often appears when a person begins eating more produce: salad dressing.
Have you ever checked the nutrition facts for the salad dressing you use? Some salad dressing is ridiculously bad for you. Check the amount of calories, sugar, sodium, and fat in your dressing before pouring it liberally over your salad.
Also, try to avoid being too liberal with the amount of dressing you use. The standard serving size listed on the Nutrition Facts label is between 1-2 tablespoons. A simple way to begin pouring less salad dressing is to toss all of your ingredients and apply a small amount of salad dressing in a mixing bowl. Mix the salad together, adding more dressing if needed, but focusing on using as little salad dressing as possible to lightly coat the ingredients. Then, serve the salad on a separate plate, which will allow any excess dressing to pool in the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Now, let’s discuss the fat content of salad dressing a little further. Obviously, you do not want to use salad dressing that has a high fat content. (Though if you absolutely must have bleu cheese or ranch dressing, make it healthier by making it yourself. A list of some popular dressing recipes are available here.) You also, however, need to be careful about no-fat and low-fat dressings. Without an appropriate amount of fat in your salad dressing, you will not fully benefit from the nutrients in the vegetables. Dressings that are canola oil or olive oil based seem to be one of the best bases to get the nutrients with a lower fat content.
So do some research and some experimenting to find a dressing that is both healthy and appetizing for you. Do you have any favorite salad dressing recipes? Share them in the comments below!