By Mary Pletsch 19 Feb 2020 no comment 1121 Views

Imagine a hearty dinner salad.  Maybe it involves chicken strips, shredded carrot and cabbage, chopped bell peppers, and crunchy sunflower seeds covering mixed greens.  Or maybe it’s got chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and diced green onion on top of baby spinach.  It’s flavourful, nutritious, and healthy…

…then it gets smothered in commercial salad dressing.  Suddenly it’s got four or five times the calories – not to mention the preservatives, sugar, salt, artificial flavours and colours – and this previously healthy meal isn’t so healthy any more.

If you’re not buying those heavily processed dressings at the grocery store, what can you put on your salad?

You don’t need to be a chef to make healthy, tasty salad dressing at home.

Firstly, skip the “bad” fats and use healthy oils that your body needs to absorb nutrients.  Olive oil is the best.  Flax oil can also make a nutritious salad dressing.

Secondly, add some tang with lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar.

Let herbs give the dressing additional flavour.  Try garlic powder, crushed black pepper, cilantro, or freshly chopped basil.  If you’re using fresh herbs, remember you won’t need as much as you will if the herbs are dried.

Be proportional.  Measure your dressings in a tablespoon to control your portion sizes.  Your salad shouldn’t float in dressing.  You want to enhance the taste of your meal, not overwhelm it.

If you’re seeking a particular flavour, like Caesar or Greek, you can find healthy salad dressing recipes online.

Don’t let “fat-free” fool you

Fat-free dressing is advertised as a healthy alternative, but in practice, it really isn’t.

To begin, your body needs a certain amount of healthy oils to properly absorb nutrients.  You won’t get those from fat-free dressing.  What you will get is additional salt, artificial sweetener, and/or flavour enhancer, as the manufacturer tries to replace the taste of natural fats with artificial alternatives.  You’ll also likely get a bunch of preservatives to keep the product stable on the grocery store shelf.

How much dressing do you use?  If it’s fat-free, you’re probably using more just to get the same taste.  You might end up eating the same amount of calories—or more—for a less satisfying “ fat free” experience.

In conclusion, skip the heavily processed fat-free commercial dressings.  Make your own with healthy oils and enjoy both the improved flavour and the nutritional benefits.

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