A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Veggies Don't Need Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing!!! Make Your Own!

Have you seen the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing commercial?  The one with kids not liking vegetables alone, but they love them with Hidden Valley Ranch?  How do you feel about it?
A picture from Hidden Valley's site. If I had any respect left, it's gone now....Brussels Sprouts are awesome by themselves!!!

I enjoy a scrumptious dip for my veggies like most people, but I look for dips that are nutritious, not mostly empty, processed calories; or just make one myself! Peanut butter and carrots is always a good choice, and pb is surprisingly great with broccoli too.
Who need ranch dressing with there's awesome brown mustard around?

When I was younger, I loved ranch dressing on veggies, salad, and even my pizza.  Of course, I was also, pretty heavy and out of shape.  So what am I getting at?  If you, your children, spouse, other friends and family can't stand veggies by themselves, there are plenty of delicious and healthy options.

Fooducate's blog posted about Hidden Valley Ranch and it's nutritionally deficient ingredients.  Here is their breakdown of the 21 "wholesome" ingredients:

Soybean Oil – oil is actually a healthy idea to add to a salad dressing because it help the body absorb some vitamins better.
Water – why add water to salad dressing? If you were preparing at home, you would NEVER add water. It would be buttermilk.
Egg Yolk – Is it raw or cooked? If raw, is it at least pasteurized? Pregnant women stress about this kind of stuff, dudes!
Sugar – helps cut the acidity of a product.
Salt - nothing smart to say here…
Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk – a good source of saturated fat.
Natural Flavors (Soy) – OK, it’s a natural flavor, and it’s based on soy. what is it?
Spices – names please, names.
Dried Garlic, Dried Onion – yes, we can spot a few specks when using our magnifying glasses.
Vinegar – A natural product. Literally means sour wine.
phosphoric acid (E338) -An artificial additive that provides a tangy taste for a much cheaper price than lemons. It is also used in soft drinks. Some studies have linked it to lowering bone density.
Xanthan Gum (E415) – increases the viscosity of a liquid.
Modified Food Starch – an additive used as a thickening agent, stabilizer, or an emulsifier. In salad dressing it behaves as an emulsifier to keep oil and water from separating.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (E621) – used as a flavor enhancer. In the past was derived from wheat gluten, but now it is mostly made from bacterial fermentation. Some people are sensitive to MSG.
Artificial Flavors - Yikes. This doesn’t look too promising. Wish they’d tell us what they’re putting in our food.
Disodium Phosphate - additive used as an emulsifier.  Also increases shelf life.
Sorbic Acid (E200) – antimicrobial agents often used as preservatives. Prevents the growth of mold, yeast and fungi. Derived from the fruit of the European Mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia )
Calcium Disodium EDTA - A preservative with a mildly salty taste.  May cause kidney damage, and blood in urine.
Disodium Inosinate (E631) and Disodium Guanylate (E627) - a food additive used as a flavor enhancer in order to lessen salt content. It is produced from dried fish/seaweed. Used in conjunction with MSG. Not safe for babies under 12 weeks, and should generally be avoided by asthmatics and people with gout.

Unless this list looks appetizing to you, here's a recipe quickie for homemade low-fat and high protein ranch dressing or dip. Leave ingredients Crapodium Dicrapinate out and use only these wholesome, nutritious ingredients....

1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (Chobani is my preferred choice)
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk; skim or buttermilk will work great too
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each of dried parsley, dried or fresh chives, and dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp each of onion powder and cayenne
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl. If you want it thicker to use as a dip, omit the 1/2 cup milk. Whisk everything together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Let sit overnight to intensify the flavor.

Want more ways to satisfy your cravings for easy and healthy dips/spreads?  Try one or all of these low calorie options using whole foods from past posts:

Are you guilty of stocking Hidden Valley or a similar dressing in your pantry? Toss the creamed oil in a bottle and serve one these easy creations to your friends and family.  You'll feel good with healthier fare that still is pleasing to your palate!

If you've made it this far, thank you, for reading through my rand and just reading in general.  Happy (ugh..) Monday!


  1. wow, it's crazy how much weird stuff they are filling into their products, It's pretty disgusting actually.. wdr.. But the homemade one sounds yummy, need to try that! Thanks for another great recipe (:

    1. I know! I have a habit of reading the ingredients on every single product I pick up now, and it usually results in my putting it back down! I see why they say ignorance is bliss, but I am confident that knowledge is power, and therefore healthy!

      Thanks for the comment and I hope you enjoy the homemade recipe!

  2. Ugh...ranch dressing grosses me out! It's kind of like mayo...it tastes good and all, but the fact that I know what is actually in it keeps me away!

    1. +100000000 to that!

      As I just mentioned in my previous reply, once you know what's in a lot of things, they don't seem so appealing anymore. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I am so turned off by ranch and most store packaged dressing. Most of the time I use oil and vinegar or balsamic. If I want something creamy, I'll make my own honey mustard. all the crap they put in there is killing most of america. great post!!!

    1. Thank you, Christy, glad you like the post.

      Yeah, anytime I am at a restaurant, I'll ask for oil and vinegar so I can control what goes on. Plus, balsamic is just awesome by itself anyway. Salsa and mustard are other favs for flavor on my salads, too.

      Have a great day, and enjoy that balsamic, I am right now.