0 calorie salad dressing

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7 Healthiest Salad Dressings for Weight Loss

Salads make a healthy foundation for any diet, but it’s all too easy to block their nutritional punch by drizzling on the wrong salad dressing and other toppings. At the same time, to keep you in love with lettuce and other leafy greens, you want choices that tantalize your taste buds, says Judy Caplan, RD, author of GoBeFull: Eight Keys to Healthy Living and a dietitian in private practice in Vienna, Virginia.

Although it’s always the best option to whip up healthy salad dressings at home from vinegar, herbs, and a healthy oil, it is also easy enough to find a healthy, tasty store-bought kind — if you read the nutritional facts label carefully. Caplan generally recommends buying healthy salad dressings with fewer than 45 calories per tablespoon (tbsp), and measuring your portions carefully, though she’ll go above that limit if it’s for the right healthy fat. She says it is equally important to watch out for fat and added sugars on the label — fewer than 5 grams (g) of sugar per serving is best, with less always being better.

Of course, the body needs fat to function, and there are several fats used in the best salad dressings that provide amazing health benefits, including:

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) These are found in olive, canola, and peanut oil, as well as in avocados and most nuts.

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs) These are found in other plant-based oils, like safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, sesame, and cottonseed oils. omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats that are necessary for proper cell function.

When planning a healthy diet, it’s important to avoid bad fats, such as trans-fat and saturated fat. Instead choose the MUFAs and PUFAs. Check the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list when selecting your healthy salad dressings to make sure they contain good fats, but keep in mind the calorie counts. All fats are high in calories. Adjust your diet choices to use good fats instead of other foods — not as an addition to your daily menu.

RELATED: Here’s Why Fad Diets Don’t Work — and What Will

In addition to watching the calories in your salad dressing, be sure to keep an eye on the calories in the salad itself. Fill the bottom of the bowl with leafy green vegetables and then use portion and calorie-control (and self-control!) with your salad add-ons, such as fruits, nuts, seeds, bacon bits, and other higher-calorie toppings or deli-salads.

Sometimes people eat 1,000 calories in salad, thinking they are doing their body good — when the excess calories will add on pounds if over the daily calorie allotment. It can be particularly challenging at a restaurant, where a salad may have as many calories and as much fat as a burger.

For a healthy shopping shortcut, pick up one of these seven store-bought dressings.

Every time I visit the grocery store I see a minimum of two people staring at rows and rows of preservative filled salad dressings. I want to shout out to them “you already have everything to make salad dressing at home.” Try these 10l natural and delicious Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes and put aside the chemical-filled salad dressings that will stay good for a year.

Remember real food will go bad and these dressings will last for about a week in your fridge. If need be cut the recipe in half or more to make the appropriate amount.

Here’s my collection of Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes. Change up the recipes to accommodate what you have. For example, switch out orange juice for pomegranate in the Pom Vinaigrette and you have a zesty citrus vinaigrette.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from my Skinny Spinach Salad and Green and Yellow Salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Spicy brown Mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from my Fruit and Nut Spinach Salad.

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar- such as zinfandel vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Strawberry Citrus Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from my food and wine newspaper column.
  • 5 strawberries quartered
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing/Dip

Makes 8 servings, try with my kid friendly Chicken Strips.
  • 2 cups Non Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves shredded with a cheese grater
  • 3 tbsp chopped Chives
  • 2 tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 Avocado smashed with the back of a fork

Add all ingredients into a large Tupperware container or jar and mix well, place in fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Walnut Raspberry Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from the Arugula Fig and Prosciutto Salad.
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. raspberry jam
  • 2 tsp. minced shallot
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes last in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Garlic-Ginger Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from the Strawberry Chicken Salad.
  • ⅓ cup raspberry vinegar
  • ¾ cup walnut oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ inch ginger root
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Mince garlic and ginger. Add remaining ingredients and blend. Let stand at least 15 minutes before use.

Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

Serves 4, from my Veggie Bean Salad.
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Dried Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Skinny Caesar Dressing

Serves 4, from my Skinny Caesar Salad and Avocado Caesar Salad
  • ½ cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (your good stuff)
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove shredded- use your cheese grater
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Greek Style Salad Dressing

Serves 4, from my Heavenly Orzo Salad
  • 2 tbsp Capers
  • 2 tbsp Kalamata Olives finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I used one infused with Meyer Lemon flavor
  • Splash of the Caper Juice – the liquid they are stored in
  • Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Serves 4. The Pomegranate Vinaigrette Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes come from my Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad and Steak House Salad.
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk together, or if using a jar close and shake. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours minimum.

Try all of these recipes and enjoy an endless variety of flavors while eating healthy.

HAPPY COOKING!

There was once a time when you could blissfully opt for that salad at your favorite steak restaurant and really feel good about it.

The Truth About Salad Dressings

Selecting that green and leafy menu option probably had you thinking you were making the “right choice” by avoiding those calorie-dense pasta dishes or sodium-packed soups. But then came the revelation that adding leafy greens and a few vegetables doesn’t always make something healthy. In fact, a number of popular salads found at delis, restaurant chains and cafes are more unhealthy than a Big Mac from McDonalds.

This salad may look healthy, but it’s packed with calories, fat and sodium. Combine these Healthier Tips for Tasty Toppings with the bottled salad dressings below, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your health and weight loss goals.

That’s right, your favorite Asian Grilled Chicken Salad found at Au Bon Pain and Applebee’s has more than double the amount of calories than a Big Mac, Nicolette Pace, a registered dietitian told Shape magazine. And that’s not all – it’s packed with more than 12 grams of saturated fat and almost 2,000 milligrams of sodium, nearly double the Pritikin-recommended daily intake of 1,200 to 1,500 mg.

The same goes for many other salad favorites including Greek Salad, Crispy Chicken Caesar, Southwestern-Style Salad, Buffalo Chicken Salad and Cobb Salad, to name a few. Artery-clogging saturated fats, excess sodium and hundreds of unnecessary calories have a sneaky way of finding their way into your oversized-salad bowl through crispy-fried chicken, cheeses, croutons and many other toppings. Combine that with the average salad dressing, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

But don’t hang your head just yet – there’s still good news!

Healthiest Bottled Salad Dressings

The experienced and talented chefs at Pritikin Longevity Center are dedicated to teaching guests that healthy doesn’t have to mean lacking flavor, texture or excitement. Using natural, healthy alternatives, they’ve crafted incredibly delicious salad dressings that contain merely a fraction of the calories, sodium and saturated fats as their supermarket counterparts. Remember that Asian Grilled Chicken Salad mentioned earlier? Just think of how much you’d help your waistline – and your heart – by choosing the 0 calorie Pritikin Outrageous Asian Dressing. None of the dressings contain more than 50 calories per serving, yet they taste even better than traditional brands.

And now, our chefs have packed their secret recipes into the Healthiest Bottled Salad Dressings prepared especially for you. Consider these comparisons between grocery store dressing labels and these fresh and healthy Pritikin alternatives:

Pritikin Heavenly Horseradish Balsamic Dressing v. Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kick your taste buds into high gear with this sharp and spicy Pritikin salad dressing. It’s the perfect complement to any salad. Great tasting, and guilt-free!

Pritikin Heavenly Horseradish Balsamic Dressing Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette
Calories 30 90
Saturated Fats 0g 1g
Sodium 75mg 300mg
Sugar 5g 3g
  • Delightful and daring with bold flavors, an instant palate pleaser!
  • Great on any salad combination, as a marinade for meat, poultry, tofu, vegetables, bean dishes or as a dipping sauce
  • Add to your stews, BBQ sauce, soups or reduce with blueberries and blend for a wonderful glaze.

Pritikin Outrageous Asian Dressing v. Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger

Savor this piquant dressing. It will have you dreaming of Asia.

Pritikin Outrageous Asian Dressing Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger
Calories 0 35
Saturated Fats 0g 0g
Sodium 55mg 300mg
Sugar 0g 4g
  • Boasting a polite and refreshing blend of sesame and ginger that leaves the palate totally in awe
  • Great on any salad combination for that Asian flair, as a marinade for tofu, seafood, chicken, vegetables, or as a great dipping sauce
  • Add a bit of balsamic vinegar and use for sushi and stir fry instead of soy sauce.

Pritikin Tuscan Sunshine Italian Dressing v. Wish-Bone Italian Dressing

Bask in the taste of this zesty Italian dressing. It’s easy on your waistline and your heart! Great tasting, and guilt-free!

Pritikin Tuscan Sunshine Italian Dressing Wish-Bone Italian Dressing
Calories 10 80
Saturated Fats 0g 1g
Sodium 0mg 340mg
Sugar 1g 4g
  • Graceful and intriguing with just the right blend of ingredients to tantalize your taste buds
  • An all-around greatness for any salad combination, as a marinade for your favorite meat, poultry, seafood, tofu, or vegetables
  • Use as a condiment on egg dishes or in soups. Add Greek yogurt to make a great sauce for falafel or raita.

Pritikin Tangy Mustard Dressing v. Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard Dressing

Enjoy this sweet and tangy dressing while avoiding the high fat, salt and calories found in so many others.

Pritikin Tangy Mustard Dressing Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard Dressing
Calories 50 80
Saturated Fats 0g 5g
Sodium 95mg 190mg
Sugar 3g 8g
  • Its tangy, its rich with robust flavors ever satisfying and joyful.
  • A brilliant accompaniment for salads, salmon, chicken, veggies, soups or as a dipping sauce
  • Add Greek yogurt for a creamy consistency and serve with egg dishes.

Additional tips for healthy salads

Always opt for dark, leafy greens for your healthy salad base, but don’t be afraid to pile on the vegetables.

In addition to opting for a light, healthy salad dressing like the Pritikin options, there are a few other tips and tricks to building the ideal heart-healthy salad, according to the American Heart Association. The base of your salad should be full of dark, leafy greens such as arugula, spinach and romaine. When it comes to protein, choose lean sources such as skinless poultry or fish with omega-3 fatty acids. Legumes and other soy-based foods are also great options for adding protein.

Add plenty of raw vegetables such as sweet peppers, cucumbers, carrots and broccoli for a great crunch and bright color. Seasonal fresh fruits including sliced strawberries and chopped apples work great as a natural sweetener. Top it off with 1 serving of your favorite Pritikin dressing and enjoy!

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GET IT NOW

Have you ever wanted to know the secret to making restaurant-worthy salads at home?

Here’s a hint: it’s the dressing.

More though, it’s the flavor of the individual ingredients in your homemade dressing.

The best news? You can whip up homemade dressing in less than a minute once you learn the method. Today I’m going to teach you the perfect homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe.

Back to the ingredients. High-quality doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, it just means shopping smarter and choosing the right ingredients. When preparing a homemade salad dressing – or anything for that matter – make sure that each individual ingredient is delicious on its own.

The ratio of vinegar to oil in the perfect vinaigrette is up for debate. I really like half & half. Some people prefer a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil (e.g. 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup oil) or even 1:3. Just play around with it until you find how you enjoy it most.

Choosing The Right Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • Balsamic Vinegar – the most important thing! Not all balsamics are made the same. I repeat, not all balsamics are made the same. If it’s too bitter or acidic alone, you’ll end up with a less-than-pleasing dressing. Balsamic vinegar that comes in giant bargain bottles tends to be acidic, look for a smaller bottle of well-aged balsamic. A little goes a long way and for a few extra dollars you’ll end up loving your salad. I’ve been loving aged fig balsamic lately.
  • Olive Oil – look for extra virgin and something with a light pleasant flavor.
  • Dijon or Whole Grain Mustard – I love the grainy kind – I’ve been using Sierra Nevada Stout a lot lately. Some people like Grey Poupon and I’ve used it on occasion. Again, just make sure you like the flavor before adding it to your dressing. Most people consider this ingredient optional in balsamic vinaigrette, but I always add it as it really enhances the flavor and also helps the emulsion process.
  • Sea Salt – I always use sea salt for its rich mineral content, look for a finely ground salt so it dissolves in your dressing. I use the brand Real Salt.
  • Black Pepper – freshly ground is always best, I twist my grinder to a medium grind.
  • Optional add-ins – Fresh garlic or fresh minced shallots. I don’t always add these because a high-quality mustard will already contain these flavors. Raw garlic is incredibly strong; if using just smash the clove and let it sit in the vinaigrette for a few minutes to infuse flavor but not overpower it. Per one cup, one smashed garlic clove or one teaspoon minced shallot should do it.
  • Just say no to added sugar. If you use a good aged balsamic, you won’t need to add any extra sweetness. Also, aged balsamic contains a little sugar, so be mindful of how much you consume and skip any added sugar in your salad (e.g. candied nuts, etc.). Some naturally occurring sugar (e.g. apple) is ok.

This recipe also works great with any kind of vinegar you like, especially red wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is full of health benefits and is also great in this recipe.

Make your homemade salad dressings in small batches. It only takes a minute to make fresh dressing and fresh is always best. It will keep up to one week in an airtight glass container in your refrigerator if you have leftovers. It might separate, just shake it up before using. The recipe below makes 1 cup, but you can use the proportions to make any amount.

The Perfect Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe Prep time: 2 mins Total time: 2 mins Author: Elizabeth Rider Yield: 1 cup Ingredients

  • ½ cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid (a mason jar works great).
  2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified. You can also emulsify your vinaigrette in a blender or food processor (work on low, increasing the speed as you stream in the oil last). I only use a blender when working in extra large quantities. Up to about a cup, shaking it like crazy in a mason jar works great (and there’s way less clean up.)
  3. Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To use this method, whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl, then stream in the olive oil while you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified.
  4. For a single serving, use one tablespoon each vinegar and oil, a small dab of mustard (about ⅛ teaspoon and just small pinch of salt and pepper.

3.5.3229

The Perfect Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Makes 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup extra balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Recipe: Place all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid (a mason jar works great). Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified. You can also emulsify your vinaigrette in a blender or food processor (work on low, increasing the speed as you stream in the oil last). I only use a blender when working in extra large quantities. Up to about a cup, shaking it like crazy in a mason jar works great (and there’s way less clean up.)

Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To use this method, whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl, then stream in the olive oil while you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified.

For a single serving, use one tablespoon each vinegar and oil, a small dab of mustard (about 1/8 teaspoon and just small pinch of salt and pepper.

Happy Salad Making,

20 Best & Worst Store-Bought Salad Dressings

Whether your incentive is to lose weight fast or improve your overall health, tossing your own homemade salad with a healthy salad dressing is a great way to get your greens in. But if you’re opting for store-bought salad dressings, the sauce may be the reason you’re not witnessing your waistline whittle down. Why? The bottled brand you buy will play a role in how many calories you consume.

In fact, many bottled salad toppers are jam-packed with bloating amounts of salt and sugar in addition to sketchy dyes and preservatives. So why taint your nutritious bowl with these health-undoing ingredients? If you’re bored of plain ol’ olive oil and lemon juice or don’t have the time or ingredients to whip up a flavorful salad dressing at home, we’ve put together a guide that’ll help you sort through the good and bad bottles at the supermarket.

Ideally, you want your healthy salad dressing to contain less than 250 milligrams of salt and less than 3 grams of sugar per two tablespoons. And while “fat-free” dressings may seem synonymous with fitting into your skinny jeans again, that’s not actually the case. You want your topper to contain some healthy fats, which help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K—slimming nutrients found in many salad staples such as spinach and tomatoes.

First…The Best

1

Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

per 2 tbsp: 35 calories, 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat) 135 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

We love that Bolthouse Farms uses protein-rich yogurt for its base to keep the fat content of this healthy salad dressing respectably low. And with an impressive 35 calories per serving and 2 grams of muscle-maintaining protein, you won’t believe this bottle packs in velvety blue cheese in almost every bite.

2

Organic Girl Avocado Cilantro

Per 2 tbsp: 120 calories, 13 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

If the avocado on your countertop isn’t yet ripe for use, don’t fret—you can still get the coveted creamy flavor with this organic offering. Organic Girl boasts a kick of jalapenos and invigorating lime juice as well as satiating unsaturated fats that help you absorb many veggies’ fat-soluble nutrients. Squirt this over a Mexican-style salad when you’re short on time to make fresh guac.

3

Bragg Vinaigrette

Per 2 tbsp: 90 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

Apple cider vinegar, which has been linked to weight loss and appetite suppression, is the top ingredient in Bragg’s healthful vinaigrette. This healthy salad dressing is sweetened with a drop of organic honey and liquid aminos, and balanced with a dash of black pepper for a low-sodium sauce that’s as wholesome as it tastes.

4

Primal Kitchen Lemon Turmeric Vinaigrette & Marinade

Per 2 tbsp: 90 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

Curcumin, the main antioxidant in turmeric, has been shown to fight inflammation—a key driver of weight gain. After you’ve drizzled your greens with the golden stuff, add a dash of black pepper. The zesty spice helps increase turmeric’s bioavailability.

5

Hilary’s Ranch Chia

Per 2 tbsp: 35 calories, 3 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

Instead of relying on a fatty base of vegetable oil and buttermilk, Hilary’s concocts its creamy ranch with hearty coconut milk. To add to the benefits, this healthy salad dressing packs in heart-benefitting chia seeds for a dose of omega-3s in every bite.

6

Annie’s Organic Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Per 2 tbsp: 140 calories, 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Annie’s adds tang and body to your salads without breaking your calorie budget. Two tablespoons pack in under 150 calories and boast 15 grams of fat coming from extra virgin olive oil. EVOO is brimming with oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to prevent heart disease.

7

Primal Kitchen Dreamy Italian Dressing

Per 2 tbsp: 110 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein

Avocado oil—the first ingredient in this pick—has been shown to prevent metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, a study in BioMed Research Journal shows. What’s more, this dreamy dressing features aromatic flavors from basil, garlic, red chile peppers, and thyme, deeming this the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

8

Annie’s Organic Caesar Dressing

Per 2 tbsp: 110 calories, 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 1 g protein

If you’re yearning for an indulgent flavor factor to keep your salad streak going, Annie’s organic Caesar trumps most commercial brands that inject their formulas with belly-ballooning fat and salt. Plus, this Ceasar is egg-free and non-GMO.

9

Tessemae’s Green Goddess

Per 1 tbsp: 80 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Unlike our other healthy salad dressing contenders, Tessemae’s serving size is trimmed down to a mere tablespoon. However, even if you double it to two, the nutritionals remain quite impressive. Instead of stuffing in deleterious amounts of sodium and sugar, Tessemae’s flavors its sauce with organic tamari, EVOO, and turmeric.

Now…The Worst

10

Hidden Valley Original Ranch

Per 2 tbsp: 140 calories, 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein

It’s time to ditch the dressing that convinced you to eat your veggies as a child. Hidden Valley’s original ranch sneaks in appetite-spiking MSG as well as artificial flavors and preservatives—scary ingredients you don’t want lurking in your salad.

11

Kraft Zesty Italian

Per 2 tbsp: 60 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 1g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

Sure, one serving size boasts just 60 calories but are you looking at the super-high sodium content and preservative-packed ingredient list when buying a bottle of this savory salad topper? Skip Kraft’s Mediterranean-inspired sauce and go for one of our better store-bought salad dressings instead.

12

Wishbone Deluxe French

per 2 tbsp: 120 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat) 170 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

If you’re looking to add some sweetness to your spring mix, you’re better off tossing in some sliced fruit rather than drizzling on this dressing. Two tablespoons pack in 4 grams of sugar, which doesn’t sound too horrendous until you’ve poured double the recommended serving size into your bowl.

13

Kraft Thousand Island

per 2 tbsp: 130 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

Your go-to French fry dip contains more sodium than 20 mini Snyder’s pretzels! If your goal is to balance your blood pressure, skip this pick and opt for using these 20 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure to jazz up your lettuce.

14

Brianna’s Homestyle Asiago Caesar

per 2 tbsp: 140 calories, 14 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat) 270 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Don’t let the modest and minimally-styled label fool you: this dressing is far from simple. In addition to including a laundry list of ingredients, Brianna’s cheese-spiked caesar also manages to pack in a whopping 270 milligrams of sodium, which is why we omitted it from being deemed a healthy salad dressing.

15

Maple Grove Farms Fat-Free Greek

per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat) 250 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

We were so close to loving this low-calorie condiment until we spotted potassium sorbate and 250 milligrams of sodium on the bottle’s backside. The sketchy preservative has been shown to be genotoxic to human lymphocytes (or white blood cells), according to a 2010 study. Yikes!

16

Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette

per 2 tbsp: 90 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

When you’re looking for a healthy salad dressing, balsamic is usually your go-to, right? Maybe not this one. Balsamic is known for its subtle sweet hints, but this offering is packed with a significant amount of heart-taxing salt. And contrary to its label, balsamic vinegar is a lowly third on the ingredient list, snailing behind fillers such as soybean oil and water.

17

Ken’s Honey Mustard

Per 2 tbsp: 130 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 0 g protein

Whether you’re slathering the stuff on baked chicken or stirring it into spinach, this honey mustard isn’t a solid choice when you’re shopping for that sweet tang. Ken could do without the preservatives and unnatural dyes.

18

Ken’s Fat-Free Raspberry Pecan

Per 2 tbsp: 45 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 0 g protein

You’d think raspberries were bright enough to contribute enough color to their pulverized counterpart, but Ken doesn’t seem to agree. This dressing packs in artificial dyes including Red 40 and Blue 1, and lists sugar as the second most abundant ingredient.

19

Kraft Fat-Free Catalina

Per 2 tbsp: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein

You were attracted to the words “fat-free” plastered on the front label. Then, you turned the bottle around and saw that one serving boasts only 50 calories. Sure, this salad dressing seems promising at first glance, but its lengthy list of ingredients and sky-high sodium and sugar contents deem this Kraft bottle a total no-go.

20

Newman’s Own Low-Fat Sesame Ginger

Per 2 tbsp: 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (0g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

Sesame and ginger are two fat-frying ingredients when found in their natural state. However, these ingredients lose their lustrous halo when tainted with 300 milligrams of sodium. Build a better salad by choosing one of our more healthy salad dressing options and tossing some of the best foods for fiber in your bowl.

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Everyone knows that an amazing dressing is the secret to a great salad. While there are a ton of easy recipes to make at home, sometimes you just want a salad and you don’t want to work for it. For example, when you’re hangry and need food right away, store-bought salad dressing can sometimes seem like your only option.

Registered dietitians generally prefer homemade salad dressings to store-bought for some good reasons. Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition, tells SELF that options with labels like “lowfat” or “fat-free” tend to contain lots of sodium and added sugar (both fine in moderation, but the USDA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams and your daily added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your overall diet). Nora Minno, R.D., C.D.N., also explains that even if a dressing has a reasonable amount of added sugar or sodium per serving on the nutrition panel, you’re likely using far more than a single serving on each salad.

With all this in mind, even R.D.s can admit that store-bought salad dressings are often the more convenient option. As long as you’re paying attention to the label to make sure it contains nutritious ingredients—like olive oil, fruit or fruit juices, and spices—these premade dressings can be great expert-approved options. SELF asked R.D.s to recommend their favorite store-bought salad dressings for when they’re in a pinch. From green goddess to balsamic to a lemon-turmeric vinaigrette, these are their nine favorite options.

iStock/JackJelly

Making homemade healthy salad dressing is delicious, but having a jar or two in the refrigerator is great if you’re in a pinch or missing key ingredients. The problem with most store-bought salad dressing, however, is that they are often filled with processed ingredients, sugar, and refined oils – not exactly what you want on your arugula.

Here’s the salad-loving solution. These three store-bought dressings are minimally processed, filled with real ingredients, and the easiest way to make salad bowls crave-worthy – and even healthier.

Unhealthy Bottled Salad Dressing Ingredients

Spoiler: most salad dressings found at the grocery store actually make salads way less nutritious. Filled with refined industrial oils, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, store-bought salad dressing is more of a health bomb than healthy choice.

Genetically modified industrial vegetable oils, including soybean, cottonseed, canola, and corn, are highly processed oils made by pressing, heating, refining, and using various chemical solvents to create a final product. This product finds its way into packaged foods, baked goods, and yes, salad dressings.

The problem with vegetable oils isn’t just their laborious processing and thus drastic reduction in nutritional value; it is their fat composition. Vegetable oils are packed with omega-6 fatty acids, which in excess, contribute to inflammation.

Although we need both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet to maintain cell membranes and a fully functioning immune system, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is providing just too many omega-6 fats. According to research in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, the ideal balance of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids is 4:1. Today, our ratio looks more like 16:1.

Research has continually shown that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while diets high in omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Increased inflammation is linked to heart disease, arthritis, depression, and even cancer.

When it comes to anything store-bought, always read the ingredient label. This is where ingredients like vegetable oil, artificial colors, and refined sugar are lurking – even in (womp, womp) healthy looking salad dressings.

Choose A Better Healthy Salad Dressing

These jars are not only vegetable oil-free, they’re minimally processed, packed with all the good stuff, and absolutely delicious, too.

1. Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Greek Dressing and Marinade

The obsession over Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil Greek dressing and marinade is real. Not only is this dressing non-GMO, sugar, dairy, gluten- and soy-free, it’s made with organic ingredients, and instantly perks up boring greens. Instead of industrial oils, this salad dressing is made with avocado oil, a healthy fat filled with nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Primal Kitchen’s dressing also contains organic red wine vinegar, organic apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, organic oil of oregano (hello antioxidants and antimicrobial properties!) and more real food ingredients. Along with the obvious salad, drizzle this herbal dressing on grain bowls, roasted vegetables, and cooked wild salmon.

2. Tessemae’s Organic Zesty Ranch

This vegan ranch dressing is life changing. Tessemae’s organic zesty ranch is made with organic ingredients including heart-healthy olive oil, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and other herbs and spices for a flavorful and tangy combination.

This healthy dressing is also free from dairy, sugar, gluten, and it’s non-GMO and Whole 30 compliant. Massage this dressing into chopped kale, mix in with quinoa, chickpeas, and herbs for a fresh lunch, or liberally drizzle over your salad bowl – yum.

3. Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing

This is another win for salads (and everything else) with Primal Kitchen’s paleo and organic ranch dressing.

Unlike traditional ranch dressing made from dairy products, this ranch uses avocado oil, nutritional yeast for a boost of vitamin B12, organic cage-free eggs, and organic apple cider vinegar for a zesty and kicking condiment. With herbs like parsley, chives, dill, and rosemary extract, this ranch is not only flavorful, but it’s packed with antioxidants, too.

Dip raw vegetables in this ranch, create marinades and sauces, and drizzle this ranch all over your favorite salads. It’s a game changer.

4. Bragg Organic Healthy Vinaigrette

Leave it to Bragg’s Organics to make a healthy, nutrient-packed salad dressing. Bragg’s Organic Healthy Vinaigrette is made with raw apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, liquid aminos, and spices – basically it’s everyone’s favorite homemade version in bottled form.

Along with olive oil, the base of this dressing is apple cider vinegar for a delightfully tangy and zesty kick to greens. Apple cider vinegar boasts antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, and may even promote digestive health while managing insulin levels. This dressing tastes amazing on heirloom tomato salads, in marinades, and drizzled on sandwiches and collard green wraps.

5. Primal Kitchen Caesar Dressing

This caesar dressing from Primal Kitchen is not only gluten, dairy, sugar, and soy free, it’s filled with wholesome ingredients found in classic caesar dressing recipes.

Along with cage-free organic eggs, this caesar contains nutritional yeast, organic apple cider vinegar, plenty of garlic, black pepper, and refreshing lemon. It’s tangy, delicious, and unbelievable when massaged into chopped kale.

*Disclaimer: Help support Organic Authority! Our site is dedicated to helping people live a conscious lifestyle. We’ve provided some affiliate links above in case you wish to purchase any of these products.

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“Fat helps us absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) that can be found in the produce and proteins in our salad,” Martin said. The word “creamy” usually indicates an unnecessarily high amount of fat, usually in the form of saturated fats.

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Go for a short and sweet ingredient list. “I read the ingredient list to make sure there aren’t any artificial colors, ingredients, and preservatives, as well as ingredients that aren’t easily pronounceable,” Martin said. That includes less than two grams of sugar per serving. “Many salad dressings will have a little bit of sugar, and that’s OK. But I’d rather save the sugar for a salad topper like fresh sliced fruit or unsweetened dried fruit.”

To put this into perspective, one teaspoon of sugar has four grams of sugar. So half a teaspoon sugar max per serving of salad dressing (which is typically one to two tablespoons) is plenty!

Of course, keep calories in mind as well. “Some salad dressings can run upwards of 100 calories per one tablespoon serving, which is just too much for such a small serving size. Since I’d rather spend my calories on more salad toppers, I look for dressings with more bang for my calorie buck,” Martin said. “I usually won’t buy a dressing with more than 150 calories per two-tablespoon serving. However, I usually stick to around 100 calories per two-tablespoon serving because there are so many options available that fit this criteria!”

Check out these prime options next time you’re at the supermarket.

  • Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with Avocado Oil: “Honey mustard vinaigrettes are typically very high in sugar!” Martin said. “This dressing only contains two grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving. Also, all of the sugar is coming from honey, and not refined sugar sources.” Serving size: 2 tbsp., Cals: 100, Total fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 3g, Sugar: 2g
  • Bolthouse Farms Organic Avocado Ranch: “I like Bolthouse’s dressings because they are yogurt based and are a lower-calorie option (without sacrificing on flavor),” Martin said. There’s only one gram of sugar, and it’s not coming from added sugars. Serving size: 2 tbsp., Cals: 50, Total fat: 4.5g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 2g, Sugar: 1g
  • Annie’s Naturals Woodstock Dressing: “This dressing has a tomato and tahini base, giving it a nutty yet tangy flavor not commonly found in salad dressings,” Martin said. It also has no added sugar. Serving size: 2 tbsp., Cals: 100, Total fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 2g, Sugar: 0g
  • Marzetti Simply Dressed Avocado Ranch Dressing: “Marzetti makes quite a few healthy dressings, but this one tops the list thanks to its higher-than-normal healthy fats, which it gets from canola oil (another high oleic oil), buttermilk, avocado, and egg yolk,” said Claire Martin, RD, a registered dietitian. It has 120 calories per serving of two tablespoons, but thanks to its rich, wholesome ingredients, it does not tasty “healthy” but has a great creamy luscious texture and flavor. It also offers 430 mg of omega-3 fats per serving. Serving size: 2 tbsp. Cals: 120, Total fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sugar: 1g.
  • Bragg Organic Vinaigrette: “This vinaigrette is made by the same company that makes Bragg apple cider, which is also an ingredient in this low-calorie dressing. Its base is Bragg organic extra virgin olive oil, which is a high oleic oil and so is high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat,” Claire Martin said. “This vinaigrette also contains Bragg liquid aminos, honey, garlic, onion, and black pepper (all organic), with only two grams of sugar per serving size of two tablespoons.” This dressing is a total of 90 calories per serving and a very healthy way to add some flavor to a salad. Serving size: 2 tbsp., Cals: 90, Total fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 0, Sodium: 60 mg, Sugar: 2g.

Image Source: Unsplash / Taylor Kiser

RANKED: These are the salad dressings with the fewest calories

So many options. Rebecca Harrington/Tech Insider A single serving of salad dressing can have more calories than all the vegetables in the actual salad.

Low-fat dressings may be lower in calories, but they are often high in sugars. (They have to add something in there to make it taste good after they take all that fat out.)

If you want to choose a dressing with fewer calories or fat, watch out for how much sugar it has, too. The World Health Organization recommends adults eat fewer than 50 grams of sugar per day, and you don’t want to waste a chunk of that on 2 measly tablespoons of dressing.

So while this is a list of salad dressings ranked by their calories, it’s also a lesson in looking at a nutrition label holistically.

To compare salad dressings, I went to the grocery store and photographed a sample. This of course doesn’t include every dressing or every variety, but hopefully this list can get you started.

Here’s how 17 dressings rank from the highest to lowest calories in one 2 Tbsp. serving, and I’ve included how much sugar each has, too:

Emma Kumer / Taste of HomeEmma Kumer / Taste of Home

We all know a fresh salad full of green veggies is good for us, but a salad is only as good as the dressing you choose to put on top. Drizzle on the wrong dressing and your attempts to eat healthy will be for naught. We’ve gathered up the best and worst store-bought salad dressings, based on calorie count and fat content. Keep this list handy if you want to avoid turning your salad into the nutritional equivalent of a Big Mac.

BEST:

1. Annie’s Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Courtesy of WalmartCourtesy of Walmart

Calories per serving: 25

Total fat per serving: 3g

Great for marinades and salads alike, this creamy vinaigrette is made with Dijon mustard, sea salt and expeller-pressed vegetable oil. Expeller-pressed oil is produced by mechanically squeezing the oil from nuts or seeds, as opposed to using a chemical method of extraction. Pair the dressing with this recipe for a light dinner.

2. Litehouse OPA Greek Yogurt Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Courtesy of WalmartCourtesy of Walmart

Calories per serving: 60

Total fat per serving: 3g

Looking for something a little sweeter? This yogurt-based dressing will brighten up your salad without adding a ton of sugar. The creamy texture and sweet strawberry flavor are likely to convert even the harshest salad critics. Craving more light strawberry sweets? Try this pie.

3. KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing

Courtesy of WalmartCourtesy of Walmart

Calories per serving: 40

Total fat per serving: 2g

A healthy salad dressing doesn’t have to be boring. Described by the bottle as “sweet and rustic,” this one is bold on flavor but low on calories. It’s made with a delicious combination of ingredients including red bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and onions. You won’t even realize you’re eating a low-fat dressing…especially when it’s drizzled on top of these roasted veggies.

4. Skinnygirl Balsamic Vinaigrette

Courtesy of WalmartCourtesy of Walmart

Calories per serving: 10

Total fat per serving: 0

This balsamic vinaigrette by Skinnygirl is the lightest dressing on our list. At only 10 calories per serving and zero grams of fat (yes, zero!), you might assume it won’t taste great. But customer reviewers agree that the flavor is surprisingly delicious!

WORST:

1. Marie’s Creamy Caesar

Calories per serving: 170

Total fat per serving: 19g

With ingredients like Romano cheese, sour cream and buttermilk, it’s easy to see why this dressing is not a healthy option. Although we’re sure it’s tasty, if you’re going to smother your salad with all those calories and fat, you might as well just eat a burger. These good-for-you veggie burgers are a tasty trade-off.

2. Ken’s Steak House Thousand Island

Calories per serving: 140

Total fat per serving: 13g

In addition to its high calorie count and fat content, Ken’s Steak House Thousand Island dressing contains high fructose corn syrup and 300 milligrams of sodium per serving. Yikes. If you’re trying to eat healthy, maybe skip this one.

Surprised? Salad dressing isn’t the only “health food” that’s been fooling you.

3. Brianna’s Home Style Classic Buttermilk Ranch

Calories per serving: 160

Total fat per serving: 17g

Everybody loves a creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. Everybody, that is, except for our waistlines. So think twice before you top those healthy greens with the contents of this bottle, and reach for this healthy snack instead.

4. Hidden Valley Cheddar and Bacon Flavored Ranch

Calories per serving: 100

Total fat per serving: 17g

We hate to break it to you, but anything with cheddar and bacon in the name isn’t going to be your healthiest option. (Although we must admit, the combination is oh so delicious!) Hidden Valley Cheddar and Bacon Flavored Ranch dressing is high in calories, fat and sodium. Save this one for your cheat day…and then drizzle it over a green salad (or a baked potato).

5. Wish-Bone Buffalo Ranch Dressing

Calories per serving: 130

Total fat per serving: 13g

While it’s a healthier option than a plate of actual buffalo wings, you’re not doing that healthy salad any favors with this dressing. Again, if you just have to have it, save it for a cheat day!

If you’re trying to eat healthier, remember to scan the nutrition labels before buying packaged foods. Better yet, make it from scratch. A low-cal, low-fat vinaigrette comes together in mere minutes. Check it out!

A salad is often regarded as the gold standard of a “healthy” meal. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just improve your overall health, tossing together leafy greens and veggies is a great way to start. But what you dress your salad with can actually make or break the nutrition value of the meal—and impact your goals.

Most salad dressings you find in the grocery store are packed with added sodium, high amounts of preservatives, and sugar. Oftentimes, salads at a restaurant can be one of the unhealthiest items on the menu. For example, the Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken from Panera Bread has 650 calories, 34g fat, and 1,270mg of sodium. Comparatively, the BBQ Chicken Flatbread sandwich only has 380 calories, 15g fat and 730mg of sodium. The good news is, more and more restaurants are labeling the nutrition facts on their items, which can help guide you to make the healthiest choices.

So how do you keep that salad “healthy”—and flavorful? Look at the serving size first, keep the sodium low, and try to avoid high-sugar dressings. Flavorful herbs and spices should be the focus. Don’t worry too much about the fat content—as long as the dressing consists of healthy oils, like olive oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil. Try these tips when reading the ingredient label.

  • Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
  • Sodium: less than 400 mg
  • Sugar: less than 5g

The best option? You can easily make your own at home and store it in a bottle just like the store-bought kind. Here’s my recipe for a vinaigrette that’s especially great for summer:

Citrus Blood-orange Vinaigrette With Poppy Seeds

  • 3 blood oranges, juiced (~1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 Meyer lemons, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced shallots)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cup avocado oil or EVOO olive oil
  • ½ Tbsp. poppy seeds

Don’t have time to make your own? Have no fear, we’ve done the research and found the healthiest dressings available at the store.

Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.

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