My kiddos and I are doing a health challenge for six weeks. A friend told me about one that was online and I joined that, and got put on a team, and then the three oldest decided they wanted to do one too. So I edited the spreadsheet so that the goals were a better fit for children (ie “drink half your body weight in ounces of water” instead of ‘drink 100 oz”; and ‘sleep 9-11 hours’ instead of, ‘sleep 7+ hours’) and they passed them out to a couple of close friends and started on their challenge! There are two ‘free choice’ spots where they fill in their own healthy habit they want to work on, plus they can choose their own meal plan (but no soda or alcohol is allowed ever, even on your free day). My 11 and 8 year old daughters chose to not have sugar as part of their meal plan. They are at an advantage living in our home where we have very few things in the home that have sugar in them, but I have not been able to find a ranch dressing without sugar(Newman’s Own is better than most, but the ranch still has some sugar) and they love ranch with carrots and on salads, so I’ve kept it around. I came across a vegan, sugar-free ranch dressing in Kimberly Snyders book and we gave it a try and it’s a winner.
Pictured below, I have plain greek yogurt which is not vegan, but the recipe actually calls for a coconut or almond yogurt, so if you are vegan you’d make that change.
Here are the ingredients: sea salt, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, plain yogurt, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, onion, parsley and dill.
In case you’ve never heard of nutritional yeast before, here is some info about it: Whole Foods sells nutritional yeast in their bulk section, and also in a can like the one pictured below. You should be able to find it in most health food stores. Our local health food store sells it in a canister near the protein powders and vitamin supplement area. Nutritional yeast is grown in vats of molasses, nutrients, and water. Once the yeast is mature, it gets poured out onto a conveyor belt and goes through a drying process that breaks it down into little flakes. Nutritional yeast contains a full spectrum of essential amino acids and is a good source of protein. It has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is vegan so it’s often used as a substitute for vegans, with recipes containing cheese; I like to sprinkle it on pasta, popcorn, salads, roasted veggies etc.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
You can refrigerate it for about 3-5 days. Just give it a stir before serving. We love to eat this over salad and as a veggie dip.
Ranch Dressing– adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s cook book
*Makes about 1 cup
2/3 c plain yogurt (can use coconut or almond yogurt if vegan)
1/3 c pine nuts
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp white or yellow onion, sliced
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried)
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Can refrigerate up to 3-5 days.