Time to Lose weight--Food Question

Updated on January 03, 2011
S.M. asks from Lakeside, CA
17 answers

Well it's that time of the year. I am going to lose my standard 20-30 pounds. I want to start eating salads again. I'm just not a salad person. I do well for awhile. Then I get tired of it. So my question is, does anyone know what kind and brand of dressing is on the Olive Garden salads? What are your favorite dressings? I ordered that neato salad mixing, rinsing, and spinning set. When it comes I'm going to learn to like it!

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So What Happened?

I have to say a big EWWWW about the tongue scraper. But I'll think about that one.

I should have said that I've lost weight very well on balanced diets and lived most my life without salads and never had a desire to make myself eat a lot of them. I always end up gaining the weight back because I get lazy and eat what's handy and crave sweets. But, I have reasons to want to try again with the non-dieting dieting and the salads. My 10 year old loves salads and would eat them all day long. Adding some meat and or eggs makes them even better for her. She is not picky at all and would probably eat most any kind. But we don't make it for her enough. She's picked up a dramatic amount of weight this last year. So for the sake of my whole family, I want to make 2011 the year of the veggies, more than ever before. We do eat veggies in this house. But we go through spells where we are broke and eat too many bread and potato dishes to help financially.

My family buys those nasty bags of pre-washed and chopped veggies. I'm glad they are willing to help out with the food budget...speaking of my mother, husband, and 20 year old daughter that lives here too. They have helped me financially by shopping sometimes. But the cost of those bags of various types of lettuce is way too high and I don't trust those companies at all. They love vinegar dressings. I'm the one that like something more than just vinaigrette. I want to prove to them that we can do the salads cheaper and better by getting the whole heads and clumps, adding in more veggies like raw cabbage, broccoli, and spinach.

This device I bought allows it all to be chopped, rinsed, water spun off, salad mixed completely, and then a small amount of dressing can be evenly coated which goes a long ways towards reducing calories without having to settle only for the vinegar and I really don't even like oil for oil's sake. But I'll experiment with all kinds of dressings until I find some I can do that the family likes too.

Featured Answers


answers from St. Louis on

Eat foods high in fiber. The dressings from Olive Garden are ridiculously fattening. Buy a low fat or fat free italian from the grocery store.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dothan on

I stick to vinegarettes and fresh squeezed lime with cranberries in all my salads. Just gives them a super sweet but yummy kick. If you can find spicy chips to throw in occasionally (like the mcdonalds southwest salad) it really helps.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from New York on

Why are you making the same 'I'm going to lose 20-30 lbs' resolution and then set a plan to do so by eating something you don't enjoy? There are plenty of other things you can eat that are healthy and aren't salad.

I lost weight just by adding 2 different veggies to my dinner every night. The extra veggie means less room for a starch so there is automatically less calories. When I do have salad I throw in chick peas which are very filling and fiber filled. Dressing is just balsamic vinegar with a little olive oil.

You'll never lose weight and keep it off if you base it on things you dislike. So figure out what you do like to eat and do a little research to figure out ways to make it healthy.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree with Hazel about the diabetes nutrition guidelines. I also had gestational diabetes and was astounded by how many carbs made up most of my diet prior to the diagnosis! I was allowed 15-25 grams of carbs for snacks and 45 grams for meals...geesh, half cup of rice meant no other carbs allowed! But I could have as much protein as I wanted. To my surprise, it didn't want proteins so much as fruits (high in carbs) and some veggies (carrots have carbs too ugh!).

I've challenged myself to go back to the diabetes diet because I know I can do it because I've already done it, and because 'salads' aren't as healthy as one would think (mostly because of the dressing).

Best wishes to you which ever method you choose! I have a similar weight loss goal with exercise to boot...we can do this!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I am not a huge salad person myself...BUT...I LOVE this salad I stumbled upon. I have been waiting and waiting to start eating it again. I am prego and apparently NOT supposed to eat feta cheese.
But, here goes.
3-4 oz. Grilled Chicken
1 oz chopped pecans
1 whole apple (I usually use fuji or braeburn)
1 oz feta cheese
HUGE plate full of chopped greens and iceburg (I love a good crunch)
2 TBSP (maybe a teensy bit more) of Sicilian Roasted Garlic Balsamic Viniger dressing (made by Kraft)
I usually put it all in a bowl and stir it all up, trying to get that dressing on everything. It's pretty strong, so you don't need much. And 2 TBSP is only 35 calories.
Good, healthy, refreshing salad! I love it.
Drink lots of water, get your body moving. Good luck!
(not to toot my own horn, but lost 100lbs last year! Let me know if you have any questions!)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Just an FYI-- when I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My midwives suggested The Zone Diet, which is all about regulating insulin, and I actually ended my pregnancy only 10lbs over my original (preprego) weight. Looked pretty damn good.... until I sorta slipped off that wagon. (I have a moderate fondness for microbrews and the husband loves really bad carbs.) In any case, you should know that you aren't restricted to salads for healthy eating, and that there are other options if you get bored with your basic lettuce/greens and veggies, raw.

Anyway, I just wanted to suggest another resource. I love cookbooks for recipes for vinaigrettes, too. Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" is an inspiring and very healthy cookbook. Might consider checking it out from your library or borrowing a copy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You don't have to resort, to only eating salads. As long as your diet is balanced with apportionment serving sizes you will loose weight. You need good fats, protein, fiber, whole grains, fruits, and veggies to loose and keep weight off. You might loose weight eating just salads, but as soon as you start eating other things, you will gain all the weight back. Often times salads end up being very unhealthy once we start adding all the croutons and what not.

With that said, I really like Newman’s Own Natural Salad Mist - Tuscan Italian

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think they use a simple vinaigrette. good seasons is a reasonable sub, made with good quality olive oil and vinegar (i like balsamic.)
i have learned to love salads but you really can't force it, or eat them until you're sick of them.
i've become very fond of chicago uno because they make yummy chopped salads, everything chopped up nice and small so i don't have to do all that tedious cutting up!
yes, i'm very lazy.
;) khairete

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

I believe Olive Garden has their own dressing. You can also buy it there. Maybe buy a bottle of it, read the ingrediants and see if you can make it. I'm assuming it's some sort of Italian dressing.

Sorry, not much help, I've never really cared for their dressing.

When I eat salad, my 2 favorites are Thousand Island (my grandma made the best, yummy) and French. But because of stomach issues I have, I can't eat it very often :(

Not that you asked, but if you drink pop/soda, try cutting that out of your diet completely, and you'll lose weight that way too :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

youll burn out on that too, i reccomend investing in a bunch of different ones and learning to make your own. a couple i like

polaner all fruit, with apple cider vinegar whisk in a bit of oil

boiled and reduced orange juice, tomato paste, agave nectar, salt and pepper

lemon juice, olive oil, basil

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I use salsa on my salad or hummus. If you add enough chopped vegetables green peppers, red onions, carrots, peas, corn, chickpeas, kidney beans etc. with a little oregano you may be surprised and not need dressing. Sometimes to mix it up a little I fry the green peppers, corn and onion for my salad. For a dinner salad I add grilled chicken, tuna, smoked salmon, or taco meat to it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I'm not sure if is the true Olive Garden 'recipe' or not but I have a recipe that tastes exactly like the Olive Garden dressing and believe me it is not the healthiest! Oil, corn syrup, eggs, cheese. . .
I agree with the other posters that a simple vinegrette would be good. You can find different flavors to make it different.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Olive Garden used to sell their dressing. Just ask. Good luck with your weightloss.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You can get Olive Gardens dressing at the restaurant. It is about $5 a bottle and is actually fairly healthy-for being a dressing. I have a bottle in my fridge right now--yummmy!
I also like to use salsa as a dressing. It is super healthy and can add great flavor.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Olive Garden makes their own that you can buy at the restaurant and in some stores. I love the Brianna's dressings--oil-based ones are best. But measure/go easy on it! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Just an idea - I like poppy seed dressing, especially on a spinach salad with goat cheese, walnuts or pecans, and some kind of fruit (apple, pear, strawberries, etc.). Add some grilled chicken for protein. And I second switching from soda to water. Yum yum!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Simple oil and vinegar. Toss your salad first with the vinegar and then coat with a little bit of olive oil - add black pepper. And yes - salad does often seem to be more trouble than it's worth. You use less dressing if you measure the dressing into a large bowl and then add your salad and toss, rather than pouring dressing over the top.

1 mom found this helpful
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