It’s recommended that half our plates are fruits and vegetables and to include 2-3 different colors of produce each day to soak up a variety of health benefits. To add a little flavor, we may crack open a bottle of our favorite dressing and pour it on well past the serving size. Suddenly our salad rich in vitamins and minerals is now swimming in extra fat, salt, and sugar. This excess may not seem like much for one salad, but though your day all of this excess can lead to health consequences. The consequences include blockage of fat which affects your heart health and increase of your blood pressure which damages your blood vessels and other organs. Natural sugars are found in fruit and dairy, but consuming added sugars will not provide the nutritional benefit your body is looking for, cause potential weight gain and affect management of diabetes.

How can we add flavor to our salads without these consequences?

Creating your own salad dressing at home lets you control the ingredients and the flavor. They can be made quickly with just a few ingredients avoiding the long list of unknown that you may notice on the back of your favorite salad dressing container. Salad dressings are made of three parts: a fat, an acid and seasonings. View the chart below for some ideas to get started, but the possibilities and combinations are endless.

Oil Lemon Juice Parsley
Yogurt Lime Juice Oregano
Sour Cream Orange Juice Paprika
Mayonnaise Vinegar (any type) Celery Seed

To make your own at home, no fancy kitchen tools are needed. You can place all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine. A mixing bowl can also be used and a whisk to combine ingredients. For dressings that require additional blending try a blender, food processor or immersion blender. It’s important to use the materials that you have to keep it cost effective in making your own; keep it simple!

Can salad dressing be used on more than vegetables?

Yes! Use vinaigrette dressings for marinades or creamy dressings to spread on your favorite protein. Be creative and use what you have in your refrigerator and pantry to decrease waste and add flavor to your food while keeping nutrition and health in mind.

Need some inspiration? Give these recipes a try!

*Honey Mustard: ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste

*Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1 minced garlic clove, 1//2 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, ½ tablespoon honey, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

*Citrus Vinaigrette: ½ cup orange juice, juice of 1 lemon, 4 teaspoons honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil

Need a step-by-step guide and additional recipes visit:

*Recipes adapted from Cooking Basics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

by Lori Johnson

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

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