Most people think of salads as extremely healthy, low calorie, and good for us. Little do people sometimes realize that some salads can have more calories and more grams of fat than the demonized bacon cheeseburger! Yes! That’s correct! We went to a chain restaurant in California where calories and fat grams are required by law to be on the menu. At that restaurant, the Bacon Cheeseburger (no fries) was 880 calories & 53 grams of fat. The Chicken Spinach Salad was 1,550 calories & 113 grams of fat! Wowzer!!! I asked myself, how many of my clients would want to eat that burger, but order the salad instead thinking that they were making the healthier choice? What caused the salad to be so high in fat & calories? Answer: DRESSING + NUTS + CHEESE


Here are some delicious salad dressings to add flavor without the high amount of fat. Yes: Olive Oil is healthy, but health doesn’t mean we drink the entire bottle.

Classic Dressing: I use this dressing almost every night. It’s easy & fast. I also put this dressing over many of my roasted vegetables + steamed vegetable dishes and more. It’s delicious with so many different types of food!

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar + 1 Tbsp Olive Oil OR you can use a Misto Spray filled with Olive Oil + ½ Tbsp Dried Dill + ½ Tbsp Lemon Pepper + 1 tsp Garlic Powder + Salt & Pepper to taste

Dijon Mustard Dressing: On our second date, my husband made me a home-cooked meal where he actually made the salad dressing from scratch! The meal was so good and fresh, it helped seal the deal with our marriage. We’ve been together for 8 years and counting! This is great in salads & over chicken or pork.

1 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil + 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar + 1 tsp Dijon Mustard + ½ tsp of Herbs De Provence + 1 garlic clove cracked in order to open it up. Leave it whole because you will remove the garlic clove before serving. Mix all ingredients. Let sit for 1 hour in fridge before serving. Remove that garlic clove before serving!

Taco Salad: I use this dressing for most of my Latin-flavored dishes. The spices are a great Latin-flavor combo. Adding in fresh herbs + acids from the vinegar or lime juice just seal the deal in “sabor.”

1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar OR 1 Tbsp Lime Juice + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1 tsp cumin powder + ½ tsp chili powder + ½ tsp crushed red pepper + salt to taste + 1 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

Carrot-Ginger Dressing: For an Asian-flare, check out this link to a quick & beautiful Carrot-Ginger Dressing.

Happy Healthy Crunching! What dressing are you adding to your salad tonight?

By Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN