Monday, April 5, 2010

Make Your Own Salad Dressing

I like to think that I provide nutritious food for my family. We eat mainly whole grains, whether brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or whole grain breads/flours (with the exception for some baked treats that don't convert well to whole grain flours). We strive to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, although the 'variety' factor is negligible for certain family members. We eat generally lean proteins, including beans and legumes, and include vegetarian and fish meals in our meal rotation.

The weaker areas in the menu plan appear to be our sugar intake (too high) and our salad intake (too low).

I have all sorts of salad excuses. I know I should make them, I know I should eat them, BUT:
  • Washing the lettuce is time consuming.
  • Chopping the vegetables is time consuming.
  • EATING the salad is time consuming (although this may be the point: to slow down and fill up while avoiding the temptation to consume more higher-caloric portions of the meal).
  • The salad dressings we have are unappetizing aka gross.
Am I the only person who has a shelf like this in the refrigerator?

These are the Ghosts of Salads Past: store-bought salad dressings purchased over the years in an attempt to find enjoyable yet nutritious options. You don't even want to know how old these dressing bottles are. Between my percieved lack of patience for salad preparation and lack of appetizing dressing options, I hardly ever bother to make a salad to go with a meal. Who would with such a pitiful selection of congealed preservatives waiting to be added on top?

I want to change this trend. If I prep 4-5 days worth of greens at a time, it will save time when I am trying to put dinner on the table. If I put a bit of salad on my children's plates each night, perhaps they will learn that vegetables don't have to be steam-cooked to be enjoyed. Lastly, if I have a delicious, preservative-free, home made dressing on hand to add to the salad, perhaps I will feel more motivated to eat it.

My grandmother eats a salad nearly every day, and she makes her own salad dressings on a regular basis. Since warm weather is approaching, I am planning to replace making my Soup of the Week with preparing a variety of her homemade salad dressings.

As for the sugar intake issue, stay tuned. First I have to deal with the influx of treats that arrived with The Bunny.

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