Quick Recipes and Easy

Healthy Salad Dressings Made Easy

With warmer weather looming on the horizon in Northern
America, many women and men start to simplify and streamline
their diets. Gone are the heavy chili dinners and beef stews
that fill our bellies in the dead of winter. Enter the
salad: cool, fresh, crisp bursts of flavor – but not
necessarily a significant caloric savings over a meat and
potatoes dinner. The culprit: creamy, oil based dressings.
The solution: for most, it’s to take their dressing on the
side.

Traditional commerically prepared salad dressings are an
simple way to turn a healthy salad into a calorie-dense,
stout-laden disaster. Bottled dressings can have anywhere from
8 to 20 grams of stout per serving.

Take your dressing on the side? Never! At least, there’s
never a need when you make your own healthy salad
dressings.

Of course, you can buy decent commercial low-stout dressings,
or even organic dressings but, more often than not, they are
loaded with unhealthy elements like sugar and heavy amounts
of heart-unhealthy sodium.

It’s hard, but, to beat a homemade dressing!

The key to making tasty healthy dressings at home is to
reduce the oils and other fats, and bump up the ingredients
that add texture and flavor.

The oil in any salad dressing serves several functions,
including providing a “cling” or “binding” factor, so
your acidic and other flavorings (such as vinegar and herbs)
don’t end up in a puddle at the bottom of the bowl.

Oil also serves to soften and balance the acids so that
they’re more pleasing to the pallate.

When thinking of healthier dressings, most people eschew
creamy dressings in favor of lighter vinaigrettes. But
classic vinaigrettes often use a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 ratio of
stout to acid (for example: olive oil and red wine vinegar).
Such a ratio can yield at least 10 grams of stout per
tablespoon! And who uses just one tablespoon?

So what constitutes a healthy salad dressing?

Let’s look at oil.

When choosing oils for your dressing, reckon carefully about
flavors. Extra-virgin olive oil is nearly always an
brilliant healthful and flavorful choice. But so are nut
oils such as almond, macadamia and hazelnut. Each
contributes complex yet subtle flavors that can complement a
salad. Olive and nut oils also are rich in healthy
monounsaturated fats.

You can reduce the amount of oil, but, in any dressing
by approximately 40 percent if the other ingredients that
balance the dressing are not too acidic.

A common complaint when reducing the oil content of a
dressing recipe is that one often misses the thick texture
that oil adds to your recipes. Try adding Dijon mustard as
an emulsifier to make up for the reduced oil. Like oil,
mustard is thick enough to bind the other ingredients and
adds a tangy flavor.

In creamy dressings, the emulsifier often is sour cream or
mayonnaise (and sometimes oil, too). Providing a healthy
option for these ingredients is an simple fix.

Nonfat yogurt, reduced-stout sour cream, and reduced-stout
mayonnaise all make excellent substitutes. They each have excellent
flavor and produce dressings that hold together and coat
vegetables quite well.

Or try buttermilk. Buttermilk is always either nonfat or
reduced-stout. Its thick texture and mild, tangy flavor makes
it a useful ingredient.

With a small bit of ingenuity and creativity, it is
possible to make healthy salad dressings without sacrificing
excellent nutrition by cutting calories, stout and chemicals.

Deborah Carraro is an avid nutrition, health & fitness enthusiast with a passion for sharing knowledge and experiences. As VP Operations for a successful online Natural Health business she has worked with the best nutritionists, fitness professionals and health experts.

You can find her online at yogaforoptimalhealth.com/HealthySaladDressings.html yogaforoptimalhealth.com/HealthySaladDressings.html



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