You decided to collect all the veggies in your fridge and make a healthy salad for lunch. Great choice! As you are finishing the chopping and tossing you reach for the final ingredient--salad dressing. Instead of using a pre-packaged brand (even if it's marketed as "healthy") consider making a salad dressing yourself for these 4 reasons.
1. It's Cheaper
Batch for batch if you buy the ingredients in bulk you will save money when you make your own salad dressing. To make a good dressing all you will need is extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed is best because the oil is minimally process when it is extracted from the olives), any type of vinegar, raw honey, fresh lemon, Himalayan salt and your favorite herbs. If you're a member at Costco or BJs you can stock up and really save. Consider the Good Seasons packets that cost around $4 and you are supplying most of the ingredients yourself. Skip the packet and make it from scratch.
2. You Will Avoid Harmful Ingredients
The one thing that drives me crazy about packaged salad dressings is the amount of sugar and chemicals they contain. It's almost impossible to find one that doesn't contain sugar in some form and worse, many add harmful chemicals like MSG. Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is known to cause obesity in rats and is commonly used by scientists to induce obesity in order to test for desired outcomes. It is a chemical that tricks the brain into feeling satiated momentarily and then hunger is amplified within a short period of time. There is also a link between MSG and asthma. When you make your own dressing you don't need to worry about these chemicals and you can substitute honey for sugar which is much easier for your body to process.
Since you can make it exactly to your liking, homemade salad dressing will always beat out the pre-packaged version. By using fresh ingredients you get the best flavor. A trick to save time and money is to buy lemons in bulk. Squeeze them and pour the juice into ice trays. You can freeze the fresh lemon juice and thaw the cubes as needed. The tang of the fresh lemon with the bite of the herbs will make your salad taste like a delicacy. You might start to crave this healthy main course and when you add pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds you really have a satisfying meal that you can feel good about.
You don't need to be a professional chef to create your own salad dressing. You really don't even need any fancy tools. I actually use my old cruet from when I used to buy Good Seasons and shake up my much tastier, healthier dressing in that! It is important to start with fresh, quality ingredients. Himalayan salt is pink and contains many minerals which makes it a great option. You can find it any health food store and sometimes it the the cooking section at TJ Maxx. While you're there, check out some of the cool bottles and pourers to make your homemade salad dressing look even more appetizing. Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think!