Like it, Love it, Avoid it: Salad dressings

Happy Thursday everyone! The type of salad dressing to use with salads is one of the most frequent questions I get as a dietitian! On Tuesday, we talked about making healthier choices at a salad bar, so I thought I would continue our theme of salads and talk about our picks for the best grocery store salad dressings.

As you probably know, if you can make a dressing at home, it’s a healthier alternative than most store bought salad dressings – mostly because you can control exactly what ingredients go into your dressing. However, it is nice to have some ready made options available to use at home. Salads can either be a healthy option or be just as detrimental to our healthy lifestyles as a cheeseburger and french fries! And, the type of dressing you use definitely plays a role.

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Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette + Immersion Blender love

Balsamic vinaigrette is one of those staple salad dressings that I like to keep in my fridge for nights where salads are on the menu. But sometimes, it can be hard to find the right dressing {or maybe I’m just picky}- one without too much sugar, one that has just the right amount of flavor without being too tart, and one that is smooth and rich without the calories! As we have talked about before, making your own dressing is an easy way to eat healthier! In comparison, a store bought brand like Brianna’s creamy balsamic dressing has 160 calories, 17gm total fat, 290 mg sodium and 5 grams sugar in just 2 Tbsp, and not to mention, added preservatives in the ingredient list. By making your own dressing at home, you know exactly what is included. My vinaigrette has a few secret ingredients, that when combined, create the perfect recipe. You can taste so much flavor without it being too overpowering. And, to get that perfect consistency – why not try using my new favorite kitchen tool, the immersion blender!

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Quick Bites: Salata

A few weeks ago, we began our Quick Bites series with Chick-fil-a. In that post, we discussed some parameters to set when eating out. Salata is one of my favorite places to eat, and it seems like they have locations popping up all over! I love being able to choose exactly the type of salad I want to eat, and they have plenty of options to get creative. Salads can be a great way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, but if you are not careful, a salad may have more calories and fat grams than a hamburger! It’s important to know what to choose and what to avoid when making a salad at Salata to ensure you are actually consuming a healthy dish. You can also use these recommendations as general guidelines when consuming a salad at any eating establishment or at your own home! I have broken the list down into menu items to consider and those to avoid if possible. Remember, these are just suggestions and there may be items that I have not listed that are acceptable within reason. The portions of each topping are small (typically about 1 oz), but all of the nutritionals for a salad can add up quickly!

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