I like to eat. In fact, I pretty much work out to support my eating habit. However, over the years I have learned a few tricks to keep my enjoyment from becoming overindulgence. One of those tricks is finding food substitutions that taste as good or better than the things I think I really want.
For example, I grew up a huge fan of Thousand Island salad dressing. A salad just wasn’t a salad without (lots of) it. When I finally decided I needed to lose weight I knew that drowning my salad in Thousand Island wasn’t probably the best way to go about doing so. I weaned myself off of it gradually until I no longer missed it. Do I still crave Thousand Island’s creamy goodness? Yes. But that’s mostly because I’m conditioned to want it. Once I get over myself and simply try something else (sometimes through sheer force of will) I find I enjoy my salad just as much. What I now use instead is a super flavorful Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette by Maple Grove Farms of Vermont. It’s really tasty so a little goes a long way and 2 Tbsp only has 5 calories. FIVE! I’ve never seen another salad dressing with so few. Even better, I know what all the ingredients are: Water, balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, dehydrated garlic, salt, spices, cane syrup, and xanthan gum. (Ok, I don’t really know what xanthan gum is but you get what I mean.) A quick glance at the other balsamic dressing that’s been languishing in my fridge yields ingredients like potassium sorbate, propylene glycol, and calcium disodium EDTA. [Side note: I was a biology major and I distinctly recall measuring out EDTA for some gnarly chemical experiments. Oh, and it’s used as a detergent. YUM!]
I’d also highly recommend Fox Hollow Farm’s Fox Mustard. It’s a spicy sweet mustard that is awesome on sandwiches or as a dip for pretzels. I haven’t yet used it as a marinade as they suggest on the jar but I’m sure that would be wonderful too. It’s got 15 calories per teaspoon but packs enough kick that you don’t need more than that. And how’s this for ingredients: brown sugar, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard flour, water, molasses, fresh garlic, and spices. That’s it. No additives or preservatives. Lots of taste.
If you have products you love – preferably natural ones that aren’t full of “-oses” and “-ates” and other things that can’t be pronounced – I’d love to hear about them. Bon appetit!