A little bit goes a long way (The Diet, Day 33)

There is a story my family likes to tell about me. It goes something like this. I was in kindergarten. I had been told by my teacher to remember that “a little bit goes a long way.” So as I slathered glue all over the construction paper I wanted to stick stuff too I kept repeating “a little bit goes a long way.” I knew the words. I just hadn’t quite caught on to exactly how much a little bit was anyway.

I’m still working on that.

Today’s lesson is ranch dressing. I read somewhere–forgive me, I do not remember where–that a typical salad dressing ladle on a salad bar holds three tablespoons of dressing. Now if you’ve ever looked at the back of a salad dressing bottle, you’ll know that they don’t list three tablespoons of dressing as a serving size. The numbers would just be too shocking. A serving of salad dressing on nutrition labels is always one or two tablespoons.

Yet how many times have you dipped that ladle into the salad bar ranch more than once? How many tablespoons do you think you might have slathered on? Six? Nine? More?

Let’s say six so as not to tax my math skills too much.

According to Calorie Count at About.com, two tablespoons of ranch dressing at Shoney’s has 114 calories and 11.9 grams of fat. Thus, your double-dipped portion has 342 calories and 35.7 grams of fat. Congratulations, you’ve just taken your twenty calorie pile of lettuce and given it more fat grams than a Big Mac.

All of the diet books say to ask for salad dressing on the side when you eat in a restaurant. I usually don’t do this because I’m so busy asking them to leave the meat off that I hate to be a bother about anything else. I don’t think they stop at two tablespoons when they make that salad in the kitchen, though. If it isn’t swimming in oils, after all, most people would probably send it back.

Beware the good dressings, my friends, and just remember that a little bit goes a long way.

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