The secret ingredient Drew Barrymore’s nutritionist uses to sweeten up her salad dressing


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Photo: Getty Images/Debby Lewis-Harrison

I hate to admit it now, but it wasn’t until I was well out of college that I started to rethink my salad dressing choices. It took me years to realize just how much sugar was lurking in the bottle. I’m blame this on my Midwest upbringing, which involved a lot of Hidden Valley ranch. Now, for a healthy balance, I’m taking a page out of a celebrity nutritionist’s playbook to sweeten up the condiment the right way.

When Drew Barrymore‘s nutritionist, Kimberly Snyder, recently shared her Pomegranate Kale Salad recipe, I noticed something interesting. She uses coconut nectar to add a touch of sweetness to the base of white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Now I’m familiar with Stevia and agave, but this one’s new to me. Essentially, it’s made by extracting sap from coconut tree blossoms, making it taste kind of like an extra-light maple syrup.

“A little bit of white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil go a long way when making this salad dressing. Combining in a bit of coconut nectar helps sweeten it up while providing great health benefits,” she writes. “Coconut nectar actually contains up to seventeen amino acids and is also loaded with minerals and vitamins B and C.”

“Coconut nectar actually contains up to seventeen amino acids and is also loaded with minerals and vitamins B and C.”

While many sweeteners are high on the glycemic index, coconut nectar is low in fructose, which is why it’s also low on the glycemic index, Snyder says. (It only contains 10 percent fructose compared to agave, for example, which contains 97 percent fructose.) And low is exactly where you want to go with your sweeteners, since anything high can result in a blood sugar spike, causing everything from energy crashes and crankiness to decreased immunity.

After mixing together the white wine vinegar, EVOO, and coconut nectar, all that’s left to do is add in some fresh lemon juice, a tiny squirt of Dijon mustard, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper for a perfectly sweet mix that tastes good on every salad.

Now that you’ve found a healthy substitution for your salad dressings, do the same with your sushi and alcoholic beverages. Made right, there’s nothing tastier than a naturally-sweetened mocktail.

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