Dressing Up – 5 ways to add oomph to veg

A good dressing can transform a plate of salad or vegetables in to something quite spectacular. We all know that we should eat more veg as they have been shown beyond doubt that they are very, very good for us. Why vegetables are fab:

  1. Add amazing colours and textures to your plate
  2. Prevention of chronic health conditions  (heart, diabetes, strokes, obesity, cancer)
  3. Low in calories, you can eat LOADS
  4. Fibre prevents constipation
  5. Encourage the good bacteria in your gut
  6. Vitamins & minerals are needed by your body’s millions of metabolic processes
  7. There is a huge variety so you never need to get bored
  8. Vegetables can taste really good…………….

If you feel that veg can get a little dull, or need some extra oomph, here are 5 very simple dressings to turn a plate of the good stuff in to something pleasurable and delicious.

A big benefit of adding a dressing is that the oil helps with the absorption of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, therefore need fat for our bodies to absorb them. As for most things in life, don’t over do it with the dressing, use it to complement the salad or veg rather than drowning your plate in it. Unknown-1  

You don’t need any special equipment. Inspired by Jamie Oliver, I use an old jam jar……just put all the ingredients in the jar and shake well.

Extra virgin olive oils are a bit like wine as they can vary dramatically in taste, depending upon the type and quality of the fruit that is pressed, the time of harvest, the weather during the growing season, and the region from which the olives were produced. If you are feeling adventurous and budget allows, experiment! If you find the taste of extra virgin oil too strong, you can use olive oil instead. I prefer a ‘tangy’ dressing, so usually add more vinegar/lemon juice.  

Classic 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons of white or red wine vinegarimages-4 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil pinch of salt, pepper  

Lemon 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil juice of 1 lemontumblr_nb0yhi3gkn1tpkb57o1_500 pinch of salt, pepper  

Balsamic 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Pinch of salt, pepper  

Creamy 6 tablespoons natural yogurtimages 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil pinch of salt, pepper  

Thai 4 tablespoons lime juice 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauceimages-1 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated/finely chopped 1/2 clove garlic, crushed/finely chopped

Healthy Fat guide

Fourteen years ago as a basic grade dietitian working with cardiac and overweight patients at St George’s Hospital in south London, the message was loud and clear. Low fat was the healthy way to eat and fat in the diet should be reduced.  Since then, studies have shown that certain fats actually have a multitude of health benefits. It’s perhaps frustrating that nutrition advice seems to be constantly changing, but, to think more positively, what we know about food and nutrition is constantly evolving.

Are you confused about which oils/fats to choose when you are shopping? Butter, Flora, sunflower oil, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, sesame oil etc. etc. I will keep this brief:

Trans fats (hydrogenated oil)

Trans fats (hydrogenated oil)

STOP HAVING: Trans fats – these increase bad cholesterol, decrease good cholesterol. You can’t buy these in a bottle, they are found in some processed foods (often labelled as hydrogenated fat or oil).  This is a good reason to reduce processed foods, and to make your meals/snacks from scratch eg. bake these instead of buying biscuits.

Have LESS of:

Swap sunflower oil for olive or vegetable (rapeseed oil)

Sunflower oil – use less

  1. Saturated fats: increase bad cholesterol – found in meat, butter and animal products (ok to eat these in moderation as these foods provide some health benefits)
  2. Omega 6 PUFAs: corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower oil – generally we have too much of these, stopping the fabulous omega 3s from doing their job (see below)

GOOD TO USE:

  1. Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids: olive oil, rapeseed oil (usually labelled Vegetable Oil), avocados, nuts & seeds. These decrease bad cholesterol. If you’re watching your weight, don’t go overboard with the oils as these have 125 kcal per tablespoon.

    Vegetable oil good (rapeseed oil)

    Vegetable oil good (rapeseed oil)

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    Olive oil good

  2. Omega 3 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids: fish & fish oil supplements. Other sources: flaxseed/linseed, chia, hemp, walnut (the body cannot use these as well as the omega3 from the fish). Benefits for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal pain, cholesterol (lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol), blood pressure, blood clotting, brain growth & development, inflammation conditions.

    Flaxseed

    Flaxseed

Salmon - omega 3 oils

Salmon – omega 3 oils