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What’s the Word on Walden Farms?

How many of you, when trying to clean up your diet, revert to salads as a go to meal?

I don’t know why, but the salad has become the go to lunch entree for those of us who are trying to slim down, cut back on cals, or just be more health conscious. But, the scarier thing is what actually comes in those salads can have the sneakiest ingredients. Mostly they come in the form of fruits, cheeses, nuts, and the sneakiest of all…..dressings.

I recently switched up my lunch, one of my favorite go to green veggies has become kale. What better to pair with kale than chicken? Now what? Kale salad with chicken on top? Gag. I tell myself, “There must be more to life than leaves and a bird.”

So in my quest to spice up my salad, I gravitated towards my usual liquids to soften the salad up. First being, olive oil, of course healthy fats are grabbed first. Then I threw in some balsamic. That will be good right? After two days, I was done.

Next up, a concoction of balsamic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Alas, something acidic! To no avail, I was tired of that in 3 days.

Scratching my head like a puzzled monkey, I found myself in the salad dressing aisle praying to the salad dressing gods that I find something that will help me through my daily lunch struggles. I see sugar free on ONE bottle in the whole aisle. No thanks, I’ve tried that one and my interest didn’t last long. One bottle and I was left searching for another answer. I see LITE this, FAT FREE that…blah blah means nothing to me anymore.

Then, the pearly gates open, the angels began to sing. I set my eyes upon a brand of salad dressings called Walden Farms. Upon further investigation of the bottle, in all capital red letters, highlighted in yellow it says CALORIE FREE…..what?!? Under that the list continues in smaller font; Sugar Free, Fat Free, Carbohydrate Free, Gluten Free, Cholesterol Free. What is this magical air sorcery?

I turn the bottle around and the nutrition label reflects the front label marketing, everything is coming up zero except for sodium, sending my eyes down to the ingredients list… here are my take- a- ways:

There are many recognizable ingredients instead of sugar alcohols, preservatives, or chemicals. However, there are also many products that contain natural flavors, cellulose and xanthan gums, or propylene glycol alginate for thickening.

If you have been doing without many of your favorite syrups, dressings and dips, Walden Farms products may be an option you would like to consider as long as you keep several things in mind.  First, Most all the products contain the sugar substitute sucralose or trade name Splenda. If you have noticed any personally adverse responses to this non-nutritive sweetener, you may experience them with the Walden Farms products as well. Secondly, you will want to note that many products state they contain trace calories. By law, this means they provide less than five calories per serving however if you do not monitor your serving size, you could consume negligible calories.  (Note here: just don’t go chugging a bottle and you’ll be okay to use sparingly) These products are also not sodium free so if sodium control is important, you will want to pay close attention to the nutrition facts label.

The Bottom Line

Many times limiting calories to reach a personal goal means saying good-bye to favorite ‘extras’ like syrups, jams, dips, and dressings. Sometimes pureeing fresh berries and pouring them over frozen yogurt for dessert or a multi-grain waffle for breakfast works just fine. However, other times like holiday gatherings when you really want seafood sauce for your shrimp or BBQ sauce for your ribs, there are limited options without breaking your nutritional bank. Although they will be more costly, for those times when going without just won’t do, Walden Farms products might be an answer.

Sincerely, one happy girl crunching on freshly dressed guilt free kale salad