I’m sure you’ve had many “good intention” opportunities to eat a salad for lunch or dinner. You may have not only had the intention of having a salad…you actually did eat one! Way to go!! But, here’s an interesting thought…a salad may not always be a healthy choice. I know, it’s contradictory to what most believe about salads. The problem of course isn’t with the actual greens, but the dressings that flow over the salad that can make the entire healthy effort almost null and void. Not to mention the meats, cheeses, croutons, candied nuts, and the sugary dried fruit that add to the caloric and fat intake.
The average salad dressing has anywhere from 5 to 8.5 grams of fat and 50 to 80 calories per tablespoon serving. You may be in a hurry for lunch or dinner and decide to pull into your favorite fast food restaurant. Proud of yourself for smelling the fries and burger and not being tempted, you order the salad. While that sounds like a wise choice, a fast food salad may have more calories and fat than a burger. Let’s look at Wendy’s fast-food restaurant for a moment as an example. Their Mandarin chicken salad has 550 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 33 grams of sugar and Wendy’s 1/4 pound double stack burger has 420 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 7 grams of sugar. That may shock many of you. Note that I’m not encouraging you to choose a burger over a salad…in fact, I encourage you not to go to fast food restaurants ever. That’s a rant I could really get into, but let’s get back to the salad dressing topic…shall we?
Low-fat dressings are of course lower in fat and calories, but let’s face it – most people don’t just consume one tablespoon serving size of dressing. The salad ends up swimming in your choice of dressing which can lead to an extra 150 to 300 extra calories. I personally believe that a salad is “dressed” up enough just as it is and with a little lemon and/or spice then it’s good to go. If you like something a bit different that will add extra flavor to your salad, but won’t keep your greens gasping for air, then here are three of my favorite low-calorie, low-fat, “Skinny Summer Salad Dressings.”
1. Berry Dressing (Courtesy of Kristen Stoll – author of Kristen’s Healthy Kitchen Recipes. Her recipes are a must have…go to www.fullyalivetoday.com to order a copy)
1/4 cup raspberries
1 Tbls avocado
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
2 fresh basil leaves
Puree and serve over a green leafy salad with fresh cut strawberries, orange slices and/or raspberries
2. Tahini and Garlic Dressing
1 cup water
1 cup tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
Whisk all ingredients until blended and smooth in a blender or Vitamix.
3. Healthy Avocado Dressing
1 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
pinch or two of sea salt
Puree everything together and serve over fresh greens.