Many times, I’m working side by side with my clients to help them to optimize their nutrition so it is most effective in meeting their goals, and also, enjoyable. Here’s an example!

Salad: the king of healthy, right?


Well, this bowl certainly contains a lot of good nutrients for the body. The mixture of dark leafy greens: mixed greens, spinach, and kale; the healthy fat and delicious texture of avocado, and the juicy ripe red tomatoes all make for a delicious and nutritious meal. You can add grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, or lean white fish to balance this salad out more.


When complete with 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 2 cups of fresh mixed greens, 1/2 cup raw curly kale, half of an avocado, one roma tomato, this totals to 309 calories. The macronutrient (carbs, fat, and protein) breakdown looks like this:


  • 16g carbohydrates
  • 10g fat
  • 29g protein
Sounds good, right? 🙂
Now the question is .. what to dress it with?


Be mindful of your dressings


We’ve got a plethora of dressings we can choose from for this salad. A traditional ranch dressing, such as Marie’s Creamy Ranch. Looks good, right? It says, “All Natural,” on the label, as well as “No Preservatives.” The bottle even looks like a better choice than some of the more traditional brands on the shelf nowadays.


While these are good things, “All Natural” is not a regulated term in the food industry. No preservatives is good, but let’s take a look at the caloric breakdown before we add it to our salad:


One serving = 2 TBSP
Calories: 180
  • 1g carbohydrates
  • 19g fat
  • 0g protein
Notice that is a LOT of fat. The first ingredient in this sauce is soybean oil, which is VERY common in many dressings. Also, take note of the fact that one serving (typically of ANY dressing) is 2 tbsp. (That’s not a whole lot, and if you’re not measuring, it’s easy to use more)


A better alternative
If you still want the creaminess of a delicious ranch-based salad, try Bolthouse Farms’ Classic Ranch. Here are the details:
One serving = 2 TBSP
Calories: 45
  • 3g carbohydrates
  • 3g fat
  • 1g protein
The first ingredient is buttermilk, closely followed by water, and yogurt. I’m not the biggest fan of dairy; I recommend it in moderation, and this is part of the moderation. You’ll also see that soybean oil is still used, but it’s not the first/main ingredient used to create this sauce.


Using the second ranch dressing will allow you to savor the same ranch flavor without absolutely blowing your calorie content and macronutrient balance out of proportion.


When thinking about making “healthier” food choices, you don’t have to sacrifice much, if at all, these days with all of the products we have available to us. Many times there is a great alternative to make what you enjoy healthier/more nutritionally sound.


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