Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All dressed up

Since I began to actually care what I put in my body, one of the first things I realized was that salads were not all they were made out to be. Typically, the word salad conjures up images of healthy fare, food that will help keep the calories down and won't make you feel guilty for having licked your plate clean.

That is not entirely true. Some salads at certain restaurants can come close to or exceed 1,000 calories, and that is pretty high no matter what kind of food you're eating.

One of the reasons salads can start to rack up the calories is the salad dressing. If you are not careful, you can turn a decent meal into an unhealthy one with an extra drizzle or three of the wrong dressing.

Men's Health helped sort out the salad dressings, though. Unfortunately, there are only four salads they recommend and four that they say you should stay away from, but that is a good figure nonetheless.

Here are the salad dressings to avoid (all serving sizes are two tablespoons unless noted):

Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Dressing: 140 cal, 14 g fat, 260 mg sodium
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing: 110 cal, 11 g fat, 530 mg sodium
Ken's Steak House Creamy Caesar Dressing: 160 cal, 18 g fat, 280 mg sodium
Cardini's Roasted Asian Sesame Dressing: 120 cal, 10 g fat, 360 mg sodium
Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing: 90 cal, 8 g fat, 300 mg sodium

And these are their top five choices:

South Beach Diet Ranch Dressing: 70 cal, 7 g fat 300 mg sodium
Newman's Own Lighten Up! Italian Dressing: 60 cal, 6 g fat, 260 mg sodium
Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Caesar Delight Vinaigrette (10 sprays): 15 cal, 1 g fat, 85 mg sodium
Ken's Steak House Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger & Soy Dressing: 70 cal, 4 g fat, 450 mg sodium
Annie's Naturals Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing: 100 cal, 10 g fat, 75 mg sodium

Now, I am loyal to Kraft for some reason. I don't know why but I always buy the Kraft kind of salad dressings. However, I always get the fat free kind or the light kind or whatever they call it. Here's the info from the label of my favorite kind of salad dressing, Thousand Island.

Kraft Fat Free Thousand Island: 45 cal, 0 g fat, 260 mg sodium.

Compared to the good choices, this fits in well. Only the spray kind had fewer calories per serving and all had some fat content.

I guess that's one thing I can say that I don't need to improve, although I could diversify. The Italian dressing seems intriguing. Ultimately, though, salads around here are what they are supposed to be, a healthy alternative to the standard meal. Although, I can't go adding extra dressing because then I'll have defeated the purpose.

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