A two-cup salad bowl filled with a combination of the above ingredients is a good source of vitamins and minerals for approximately 30 calories. Adding a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and garbanzo beans adds another 35 calories, but also provides us with a little protein and calcium.
The real calorie booster is the dressing you choose. Four tablespoons of dressing, a typical restaurant serving, can add from five to 360 calories, along with up to 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
Here are some tips to help you dress your salad lightly:
* Request that dressing be served on the side when dining out; serve it this way at home also. You'll have a crispier salad and the ability to choose how much dressing you want to add. When dressing your salad, use the "fork-dip" method rather than the "drown-your-greens" method.
* Choose fat-free or low-fat dressings over regular dressings. Fat-free dressings must, by law, contain less than 1/2 gram of fat per 2 tablespoon serving; low-fat dressing may only contain 3 grams of fat per serving.
* Choose light or lite dressings over reduced-fat dressings. In salad dressings, light means 50 percent less fat and reduced-fat means 25 percent less fat.
* Create your own dressing. Salsas and gourmet vinegars make interesting dressings and can be served with or without a touch of oil. Use your favorite fat-free Italian dressing and add ONE of the following ingredients to make some new, tasty ways to lightly dress your salad: To 1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted red pepper or 2 tablespoons grated purple onion with 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Use a wire whisk to mix the selected ingredient with the fat-free Italian dressing before serving.
* Try the following salad dressings as a light dressing for your salad:
Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1/2 cup firm, silken tofu
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons grated onion with juice
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
In a food processor or blender, blend ingredients until creamy. Serve with fresh fruit or assorted greens.
Yield: 2 cups.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon.
Approximate values per serving: 38 calories, 0.45 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat (0.3 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams cholesterol, 70 milligrams sodium.
- 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon dried dillweed
- 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Store in refrigerator. Serve with tossed salad greens, tuna or vegetable salads.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups.
Serving size: 1 tablespoon.
Approximate values per serving: 7 calories, 0 grams fat, 0.7 grams protein, 0.9 grams carbohydrates, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 59 milligrams sodium.
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Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer science extension educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County.