Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Vinegar

If you were to read the nutrition facts label on a bottle of vinegar, you might wonder why I’m featuring it as a Healthy Ingredient of the Week. Although vinegar is low in calories, it’s not a good source of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t do your body good – several preliminary studies have shown that vinegar has a few interesting health benefits, among them the ability to lower blood sugar, and possibly cholesterol, levels. Vinegar has also been shown to increase satiety, which may explain why it’s often touted as a weight-loss aid. At its most basic level, vinegar adds flavor to dishes without adding a lot of calories. When I make salad dressings, like the ones below, I substitute vinegar for some of the oil called for in the recipes, which makes my dressings lower in calories, but still pretty delicious.

All of the recipes below make enough dressing for 2 salads. The instructions are the same for each one: mix all ingredients until combined, and pour over salad (the dressings also taste good over broccoli and other veggies).

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil

Peanut Dressing

1 tablespoon natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


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