Written by: The Fooducate Team
Food manufacturers realized this long ago, and today, entire supermarket aisles are dedicated to salad dressings and toppings. Unfortunately, some dressings do more harm than good. Here are 8 tips to help you make the best choices.
1. Make your own dressing
This is a no-brainer. In most parts of the world, it’s unthinkable to buy salad dressing. People prepare the dressing as part of the salad making process. It’s as easy as mixing 1 part oil, 1 part lemon/vinegar, and adding salt and pepper to taste. From there, you can build your dressing with additional herbs and spices. There’s no shortage of recipes.
If you do find yourself buying salad dressing, read on:
2. Decrease the serving size and calories
The standard serving for salad dressing is 2 tablespoons, ranging from 50 to 200 plus calories. An easy way to cut the calories is to use less dressing. Work the dressing into the salad until you can’t see any blobs of sauce, just a shiny coating all over the salad greens.
3. Don’t water down you salad
Many of the low-fat or non-fat dressings are primarily water. You’re paying over $4.00 for a bottle of dressing, the least they could do is fill it up with a more expensive ingredient like fine olive oil. Also – why drown your greens after you’ve dried them up so nicely before serving?
4. A little bit of fat is not bad
Vitamins A, D, E, and K, found in salad vegetables, are fat soluble. This means your body will be more likely to absorb them when they’re mixed with some oil.
5. Skip the toppings
They may add extra crunch and flavor, but the extra calories and sodium in bacon bits and croutons almost negate the purpose of the salad – a nutrient dense addition to your day.
6. Avoid added sugars
Some dressings can get really tangy, so a bit of added sweetener rounds out the flavor remarkably. The problem is that in many cases, manufacturers add too much sugar. For example, almost 25% of Wishbone’s Red Wine Vinaigrette Salad Dressing calories come from sugar. In other dressings, the sugar content can reach up to 50% of the calories!
One of the challenges with salad dressing is the sodium content, which can be higher than 500mg per serving. That’s close to 25% of the daily maximum. Look for 300mg per serving, or less.
8. Avoid Phosphoric Acid
Many dressings use phosphoric acid (E338), an artificial additive that provides a tangy taste for a much cheaper price than lemons. Phosphoric acid is widely used in soft drinks. Some studies have linked it’s consumption to lower bone density.