Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Recently while out to dinner, we ordered a 🍓Strawberry Spinach🥬 salad to split with the dressing on the side. When this lovely salad arrived it was drowning in dressing and so we asked (again) for one without the dressing. Shortly after, another <naked> salad arrived with the dressing on the side. The container of dressing was likely about 3oz and between the two us we used less than half of it. That was a lot of dressing, which likely contained a fair amount of calories and fat.
While calorie counting is rather imprecise and I don’t count calories as part of my own nutritional practices, I’m always stunned by the amount of calories salad dressings add to salads, as well as a great deal of fat, sodium, and other (non-essential) ingredients. While our bodies need fat, there is most definitely a line where too much fat in our diet can effect our health.
If you look at the Chicken Caesar Salad on this Café Nero menu, you will notice that the salad is 220 calories without dressing. With the addition of dressing, you add on another 390 calories bringing the salad to 610 calories. After poking around the Café Nero website, I found the total fat for this salad is about 40 grams, which is a substantial amount of fat for just one meal. I would venture to guess that most of those fat calories are from the dressing.
What about salad dressings at the supermarket? Salad dressings are a processed food and thus should be used minimally or not at all. Once upon a time, we used Briannas Home Style Poppy Seed Salad Dressing on salads. You can see from the label that there is a great deal of calories from fat (130 calories) in 2TB of dressing. And while I don’t count calories, that is a lot of fat calories that I don’t want or need in my diet. Have you ever looked at the label on your salad dressings?
We make our own dressing at home instead of using store bought dressings. We combine and whisk together Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1TB), balsamic vinegar (1TB), and a dash of black pepper. I've definitely shifted my mindset over the years about how much salad dressing I use. Now, I use just a splash to add a little more flavor to the salad.
Should you stop enjoying salad dressings? Nope! Just be aware of the amount you're consuming, and perhaps next time you’re at a restaurant, order a salad with the dressing on the side… I bet you will still enjoy the salad, even with less dressing.
▶️ To learn more about fats, check out this post on fats!
‼️ Got questions about nutrition? Or fitness? Hit me up!