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Food for Thought: Is Salad Dressing a Do or Don’t?

Salad dressings. We love them and our dietitians love to take them away from us. Why can’t I add oil? Green goddess SOUNDS healthy so why isn’t it? Am I doomed to eat dry salads for eternity?

These are all things that patients bring up to us day after day. Unfortunately, most salad dressings are filled with processed oils, extra fat, preservatives, stabilizers, gums, and sugar. When the quantity goes unchecked, they turn a nutritious meal into something that no longer is. Even if you’re adding oil and vinegar, are you tasting that 120 calories per tablespoon in olive oil enough to make it worth it? Probably not.

The good news is that there are many ways to make a salad taste delicious, interesting, unique, and flavorful without spending hundreds of calories to do it.

Trader Joe’s

This new(ish) line of vegan dressings located in the produce aisle are filled with only fresh ingredients that you can pronounce and range from 20-60 calories per serving. These are great options, especially for VLCD. (Not to be confused with the goddess dressing from the shelf-stable aisle).

Salsa

We like these products because they are thin and easily dressable, but really any salsa will do! They add a low calorie, vegetable-based flavorful option and are a great topping for salads.

Flavored Vinegars

There are plenty of local shops that offer natural flavor infused vinegars that can add an extra dimension to your salads. They are sometimes a bit pricey, but can be watered down and mixed with herbs and spices to create a great dressing experience.

Lemon Juice

Don’t sleep on this highly versatile citrus fruit! Lemon juice can be added to whole grain mustard, rosemary, thyme, miso, garlic or even combined with 2 tbsp of hummus to create a wonderful and affordable dressing alternative. Ask your dietitian for our Dress It Up! recipe card for more ideas!

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