Nik’s Guide to Salad Dressing Bliss…

I love salads. Do you love salads? Or did you pre-op. Some of you can’t yet tolerate raw veggies and for that I am sorry…but there is hope! Salad is one of my favorite things to eat because it is one of the only things I eat that looks like “normal people food.” Sorta. I can eat a full salad plate of salad and be fine. Of course I add a protein source right on top (forcing the “protein first” rule) and by the way I dig my way down to plate level I am stuffed. I like to be stuffed. But that’s just me. They say eat until you are satisfied but my brain just doesn’t understand that. But enough about my issues.

One thing I used to do in my former life is drench my salad in dressing. Which basically rendered it nutritionally void. But no more! Don’t get me wrong…I still drench my salad in dressing…I just make sure the dressing is working for me and not against me.

So here are a couple of ideas to get you started on how you too can drench your salads in dressing and still come out on top of the numbers game.

Italian dressing – hands down I always use Kraft Free Zesty Italian. 2 tbsp = 15 calories and no fat! You can’t beat that. My max dressing budget tends to hover around 50 calories. Using that I could theoretically have 5 tbsp of this stuff but 2 suffices.

Creamy Italian – now this one usually gets folks in trouble. But fear not! Your girl Cleo has your back. You all have heard of greek yogurt, right? (snicker). Mix 1-2 tbsp Greek yogurt with 1-2 tbsp of the aforementioned Italian dressing (one part:one part), add some black pepper (from a grinder if you have one…it really is better) and voila! Creamy Italian that has protein! Using the 2 tbsp:2 tsp, this comes out to 30 calores, 2.8g protein.

French dressing – surely Nik can’t be suggesting we can eat French dressing after weight loss surgery! Blashphemy! Burn her at the stake! Seriously…you can have it…mix 2 tbsp Greek yogurt, w/ 1 tbsp no sugar added ketchup, 1 tbsp mustard and 1 packet of Splenda. Mix well. Taste. Yes? Yes? I told ya! Stats? Also 30 calories, 2.8g protein. No fat by the way.

Thousand Island dressing – Yep, even that too! Use the above recipe, but add a tsp of no sugar added relish. 32.5 calories, no fat, 2.8g protein.

Do you see where I am going with this? You can have dressing. You really can. And when you make it yourself with the right ingredients you can have a boat load of it. One piece of advice for those who don’t already do it—toss your salad (interject obligatory 12 year old immaturity moment here-à tee-hee…I said “toss your salad”…). You get way better coverage when you do and in my little opinion that yields way more satisfaction than dipping your salad in some little cup of dressing. Tossing means you get dressing on every bite and you’d be surprised how little dressing it actually takes to make a salad good.

And one final note–You all know me. You’ve seen me on camera, heard my voice. So I want to say this for all the world to hear. I’m not one of those people who wants everyone to follow my recipes like a religion or something. It brings me great joy to see you all take what I post and make it your own. So play around with these recipes and make your own variations. The possibilities are endless! And if you come up with something good…send me a note! I love to hear about your adventures in the kitchen!

Happy munching everyone!

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