Don’t let your salad sabotage your diet!

Salad might ruin your diet

Can you tell how many times you’ve heard people saying, “I’m trying to lose weight, I’m going to have only a salad”?

Now don’t get it wrong, salads are extremely healthful and they can be a great option for people that are trying to lose weight. A salad with vegetables, legumes, fruits and lean meats is a great source of nutrition and it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Also, it is well known that salads are low in calories, high in fiber, and can be extremely filling – which is why salad has gotten the reputation as the key of many diet meals.

But here is the point: What kind of salad dressing do you use? Do you measure out your salad dressing?  Watch out, depending on the type and the amount of salad sauce that you are eating, your diet-friendly bowl of salad could in fact be loaded with calories! Most salad dressings, if you read the label, are portioned out by the tablespoon; usually with a serving being two tablespoons (one ounce).

People’s favorite salad dressings are either oil- or cream-based and that’s why they might contain a lot of fat and calories! So, if you are heavy handed with the dressing, you can easily take a low-fat veggie meal and have 80 percent (or more) of the calories coming from fat. The biggest problem with salad dressing is that few of us use the standard 2-tablespoon serving and instead land somewhere between drizzling and dousing our salads. Salad dressings aren’t necessarily evil. Actually, the simple point of this post is to bring to your attention the importance of balancing and measuring your salads and meals. If you are going to eat a salad with any dressing, I have one tip for you: measure it!

Take a look at the calorie counts for some of the most popular dressings:

•          Blue cheese or Roquefort (2 Tbsp) – 152 calories

•          Thousand Island (2 Tbsp) – 118 calories

•          French (2 Tbsp) – 146 calories

•          Ranch (2 Tbsp) – 148 calories

•          Creamy Parmesan (2 Tbsp) – 170 calories

My suggestion is that if you need to get your dressing doling habits under control, consider using measuring cups and spoons until you can eyeball an accurate serving size. By measuring your salad dressing, as well as going light on the higher calorie ingredients (nuts, cheese, bacon, meats) you can drastically cut the calories of your salad!  Also, for those looking for a low fat salad dressing, oil and vinegar are the best options, if used in moderation.  A classic low fat recipe of homemade balsamic vinegar/olive oil salad dressing is the following:

Ingredients – Makes 12 servings

1/4      cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4      cup balsamic vinegar

1          clove garlic, crushed or to taste

1/2      teaspoon dried oregano

2          teaspoons Dijon mustard

1          pinch salt

1          pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well before serving. Store it in the refrigerator.

This receipt has only 62 calories per serving (2 Tbsp).

 

And don’t forget the magic word of any diet: MODERATION!

See you next week,

Rafaela Carvalho

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