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Dressing on the side!

Posted by Rachel M.

Turns out even a salad can be not so great for you if it's covered in dressing (and wouldn't you know the best tasting ones are not the lowfat ones). I find that the difference in taste between a thin layer of dressing and the loads that the restaurant normally puts on is barely noticable, so I just order the dressing on the side and dab it on myself. Hope that helps!
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Definitely a side dipper myself! If the purpose of the dressing is to add flavor and moisture to an otherwise less palatable plate of raw veggies, then you’ve got a lot of alternatives to dress it up! Here’s a few of my favorites  developed to break the monotony of eating the same salad every day and generally reduce fat and/or sugar. Salsa – make your own (I’ll post my Rainbow recipe soon), or for a store-bought recommendation: Trader Joe’s Papaya Mango is appearing ever more frequently in my bowl. Wasabi and low sodium soy sauce.  Mix these with one teaspoon oil and one  tablespoon lemon juice for a spicy splash to your salad.Hummus –comes in so many flavors and adds protein to your salad. Just watch portion size-2 tablespoons as the store-bought brands have a fair amount of sodium. Making your own is simple and a great way to reduce sodium and fat content…Yummy Hummy – drain one can garbanzo beans, over a bowl, put bowl aside for a moment. In food processor, place beans, half the liquid from the can, juice from 2 freshly squeezed lemons, 1 tablspoons tahini paste (ground sesame seeds), 10 unsalted cashews, two tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon freshly grated pepper, 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder. Blend. Add liquid from can or additional lemon juice as needed to puree. Avocado – dice it into small cubes and toss onto your salad. Cilantro Avocado Vinaigrette – toss one avocado cubed, 1/4 white vinegar, the juice of two large juicy ripe limes, 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ cup finely diced fresh cilantro leaves, 1-3 teaspoons  freshly grated black pepper in food processorLime, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit juice – for great flavor, squeeze a few fresh wedges of most any citrus fruit onto your salad, add a splash of white wine vinegar, a small drizzle of olive oil (one tablespoon) and freshly ground pepper. Pre-make your own Citrus Vinaigrette with these ingredients in a shaker bottle.

I’ve actually been using a combo this month. It satisfies a sweet, salty and spicy craving. Of course it starts with my basic spinach salad: spinach & broccoli slaw, topped with red and yellow peppers, drained and rinsed black beans, a tablespoon of hummus, ¼ cup Trader Joes Papaya Mango salsa, juice from a few wedges of freshlysqueezed lime and ½ an avocado diced. For more quick protein: top with a can of drained white albacore tuna, or if you have grill access, pair with freshly grilled chicken breast, tuna, salmon or beef tenderloin. Hard to mess this one up, it complements practically anything …or is it the one being complemented?

It's true. Getting a salad with dressing on the side is a total no-brainer, but it's well worth repeating. I have so many friend that seem to be on a constant diet, eating healthy and when they are not eating healthy, they are simply depriving themselves. But there's one friend who does this that will then proceed to dump ladels upon ladels of Ranch dressing onto her salad! I mean, has anyone looked at the fat content of Ranch dressing lately? It is not low! And the calories alone... I look at it like this: If you are trying to lose weight, skip the dressing. If you can't stomach a vegetable without something dressing it up, try hummus. A big dollop on top of your salad will rock your world. If that doesn't work, go for it. Do what you need to do - just be sure to eat your veggies.
No offense, but this one should be a no-brainer. That's why it's such good advice! Most people, including myself, don't use their brains when they eat out! I just assume the restaurant knows best and let them do their thing, even if it means a full half cup of mayo based dressing drowns my lovely greens. If I know a particular place is going to down my veggies in butter for example, I still don't seem to be smart enough to ask them to hold the butter. You're post is a great and needed reminder that we don't have to dumbly accept the unhealthy extras that restaurants dump on our food. There's nothing wrong with asking for a restaurant to hold the butter, salt or sugar or put something on the side when preparing a dish. A good establishment will have no problem honoring reasonable requests, because they want your money and they want you to come back. Anyway, thanks for the reminder Rachel!
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