Dressing Yourself Skinny

January 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm 5 comments

One of my favorite ways to “healthify” a meal is by adding a salad. Not only do I get a serving (or more) of veggies, eating a salad helps fill you up (yay for fiber!) and stops you from eating as much of the (unhealthy) stuff.

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But beware! Your salad may actually be hurting your healthy efforts. The culprit? Salad dressing. One serving (2tbsp or 30g) of normal salad dressing can pack between 100C to 200C and around 15g of fat. AHH! For example, one serving of Kraft’s Ranch Dressing is 148C and 15.6g of fat.

Now, dressing has a lot to offer, like flavor and seasoning. So, how can you get that without all the calories? Here are my tips…

  • Dressing on the side. Customize how much or how little you want. A little dressing (a few teaspoons or so) can go a long way. OR, you can lightly dip the veggies into the dressing.
  • Choose yummy toppings instead of dressing. Add tasty toppings for added nutrition and flavor. My suggestions: blue cheese, feta cheese, gorgonzola, nuts, candied nuts, seeds, dried fruit (like cranberries), fruit (like apples, mandarins, and raspberries), veggies (like carrots)
  • Pick Low Fat, Fat Free, and Low Cal varieties. Switching to these for full-fat varieties, you can save 100C and 14g of fat or more per serving (according to Cooking Light). Amy’s Naturals makes great tasting healthy options that are also organic. According to Cooking Light What to Eat, the three healthiest dressings are fat-free (FF) balsamic vinaigrette/Italian, light sesame ginger, and FF ranch/French/thousand island. The least healthy? Ranch and Blue Cheese.

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  • Keep things simple with vinegar (health benefits and cuts blood sugar), oil (don’t overload!), salt and pepper. Also, oil and vinegar-based dressings are generally low in calories and high in healthy fats
  • Shake on some salt and pepper. It’s amazing what adding even a little of these can do to the flavor of veggies.
  • Make your own. This way you can control what goes into the dressing and customize it to your likes. For some recipes, check out this compilation by from Cheap, Healthy, Good.

Question: How do you like to healthify your salads? What are your tips and tricks for healtifying other meals?

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mameike  |  January 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Great ideas, Lara! Thanks for those tips!

    One general comment: Be mindful of the fact that there are certain vitamins and minerals that need fat to metabolize in your body. E.g., Vitamin A is only fat-soluble so you need a little bit of fat to be able to absorb it in your diet. That is why having just carrots as a snack is not as healthy as adding a little bit of dip or something else that has fat content, otherwise you don’t get the benefit.

    Reply
    • 2. sixtimestheyum  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks for bringing up that issue. This is why I suggest still using some dressing, but not a whole bunch. A little can go a long way. Since this post is about side salads (not just plain veggies), the needed fact can come from the toppings I suggested (cheese, nuts, etc) or your main meal. Hope that helps clear things up.

      Reply
  • 3. sixtimestheyum  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for bringing up that issue. This is why I suggest still using some dressing, but not a whole bunch. A little can go a long way. Since this post is about side salads (not just plain veggies), the needed fact can come from the toppings I suggested (cheese, nuts, etc) or your main meal. Hope that helps clear things up.

    Reply
  • 4. sixtimestheyum  |  January 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Oops. I accidently posted twice. 🙂

    Reply
  • 5. Markus  |  January 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Good pointers. Having a variety of vegetables in your salad also makes it more interesting with different kinds of nutrients. As for the dressing, I like to keep it simple, just oil and vinegar and perhaps some nuts.

    Reply

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