2. Boost the smart-fat quotient by using canola oil or olive oil in your dressing. Canola oil is pumped with monounsaturated fats, and has more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than other cooking oils. Olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fat, and also contributes helpful phytochemicals. If you're using a bottled dressing, check the label to make sure it uses either canola or olive oil.
3. Lighten up your homemade dressing by substituting a flavorful, liquid-type ingredient for half (or more) of the oil. Try fat-free sour cream; plain yogurt; fruit juice or fruit nectars; tomato, carrot or V-8 juice; honey or light corn syrup (eliminate any sugar called for in the recipe if you use these); wine, champagne, or nonalcoholic beer; or low-sodium chicken broth.
4. Lighten up regular (that is, not light) bottled salad dressing. Just blend a tablespoon of the dressing (per serving) with a tablespoon of any of the oil substitutes listed above. For example, whisk 1/4 cup of Gerard's Caesar Salad dressing with 1/4 cup of apple juice or champagne. Or blend 1/4 cup of raspberry or Italian vinaigrette with 1/4 cup raspberry or cherry juice.
5. Try some new salad recipes instead of the traditional, mayo-drenched coleslaw and potato salad. Pesto sauce blended with condensed chicken broth, fat-free sour cream, or fat free half-and-half makes a fun and different dressing. Bottled or homemade vinaigrettes can be used as dressing for pasta and potato salads and coleslaw.
6. When you DO make a mayonnaise-based salad, lighten it up by mixing regular or light mayonnaise with your favorite fat-free or light sour cream. I like to use about 1 tablespoon of regular mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream, or 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream.
7. Perk up pasta and rice salads by tossing in crunchy veggies. They'll add fiber and nutrients without a lot of calories. Snow peas, cherry tomato halves, broccoli or cauliflower florets, green onions, bell peppers ... they all work great.
8. Try the new whole-wheat pasta blends for your pasta-salad recipes, and brown rice for your rice-salad recipes. You'll increase the fiber, vitamins, and minerals and phytochemicals just by making this adjustment.