The skinny on salad for your acid reflux diet

The skinny on salad for your acid reflux diet

Are you a salad lover? But salads, when made correctly, are a real nutritional powerhouse. A salad with healthy vegetables and chicken or shrimp added could make a complete meal that contains a nice amount of fibre, plenty of vitamins, powerful antioxidants, and is a pleasant alternative to a higher calorie meal. But you need to make your salad with the right ingredients to realise those benefits.

I am a salad lover, and like most people I feel pretty good about myself for turning down a cheeseburger and fries and having a salad for lunch instead. But on a recent trip to one of my favourite fast food restaurants, I noticed a “nutritional guide” on the table, and I felt like it was daring me to take a look. I was thoroughly enjoying my chopped chicken salad up until that point, but I put my fork down when I read that my healthy looking meal packed a whopping 19 grams of fat and 1510 milligrams of sodium. After a process of elimination, I learned that the salad dressing was the culprit. Needless to say, I am still tempted to go back and order that salad again, but after some experimenting at home, I came up with a few of my own reduced fat concoctions.

Our favourite salad dressings for your acid reflux diet

First, I went to the store and checked the labels on several popular brands of salad dressings and learned that your typical “home-style” Italian has 10 grams of fat and 100 calories, while a basic Ranch has around 14 grams of fat and 140 calories, and my favourite, chunky Bleu cheese, while so delicious, has a whopping 16 grams of fat and 150 calories. And even many of the store bought “lite” brands have added sugar for flavor, so be sure to check the label if you are choosing one for your salad. Here are four of our homemade GORD friendly recipes for you to try, including two of our favourite salad recipes.

Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Mix 1/2 cup water with 1/4 tsp ginger, 1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar, and 1/4 tsp honey. Whisk in 1 TBSP virgin olive oil and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Yields 4 (2 TBSP) servings.

Calories 33, Sodium 0, Sat Fat 1g, Sugar 0

Creamy Yogurt Salad Dressing

Mix 8 oz fat free plain yogurt with 1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise. Add 2 TBSP dried dill weed, 1 TBSP ginger, cilantro or basil, and 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar. Whisk well and refrigerate. Yields 8 (2 TBSP) servings.

Calories 23, Sodium 84, Sat Fat 0, Sugar 1.5

Apricot Vinaigrette

Mix 1/4 Cup olive oil with 1/4 Cup sugar free apricot preserves. Add 1 1/2 TBSP Apple Cider or Rice Wine Vinegar, 1 TBSP water and 1/2 tsp ginger. Whisk until well mixed. Yields 5 (2 TBSP) servings.

Calories 110, Sodium 0, Sat Fat 1.5, Sugar 0

We love this dressing on our Baby Kale and Edamame Salad!

Dijon Herb Vinaigrette

Mix 3 TBSP champagne or white wine vinegar with 1 TBSP Dijon mustard. Add 1 TBSP finely chopped parsley, 1 TBSP fresh basil or ginger and 1 TBSP marjoram or thyme. Slowly whisk in 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil. Yields 6 (2 TBSP) Servings.

Calories 102, Sodium 56mg, Sat fat 1.5, Sugar 0

Try this one on our Dijon Chicken Salad.

Salad ‘traps’ to avoid

With a healthy and tasty salad dressing, you are certainly on your way. However, there are a few more traps to avoid. Let’s start with the toppings. Bacon bits, cheese, croutons, and my favourite, fried chicken chucks, will add fat and calories, so choose healthier additions like shrimp or lean chicken meat. If you took the time to add up the impact of the higher fat options, you might find as I did that a hamburger has fewer calories and fat. Try to stick with those vegetable add-ons that add flavor, but not too many calories. Black olives, beans, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, nuts, and fruits can zest up a salad and still keep it healthy. But watch out for tomatoes, they are a known GORD trigger food that might have you regretting your decision to have a salad.

The greens you choose for your salad can make a big difference too. The most common, and considered the standard by most American adults, is iceberg lettuce. Despite its popularity, iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutritional value of all the salad greens. What is at the top of the nutritional chart? Spinach, of course! It has a nice amount of fibre, iron, vitamin A, B, C, K, and several antioxidants. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you are concerned about anemia or osteoporosis, then choose to bulk up on spinach over the other green alternatives.

Do your body a favour and enjoy a healthy meal alternative – start eating salads regularly and be sure to build them the right way!

This Article is Written and/or Reviewed by RefluxMD Medical Authors Team and Reviewers –