Learn To Make A Healthier Salad
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
Do you love ranch dressing on your salad, veggies, or potatoes? The creamy condiment is a favorite in many kitchens. Ranch salad dressing that you buy in the store is rich in fat and calories. A serving size is quite small, around 2 tablespoons, and contains about 13 grams of fat. So if you use much more than that you could be consuming up to 50% of your calories from fat in one meal.
Sometimes “diet” versions of ranch dressing contain added sugar or artificial thickeners to approximate the consistency of the full-fat version. One of the best ways to enjoy your favorite dressing is to make it at home using quality ingredients. You’ll be satisfied and the result will be lower in calories and fat.
Consider Your Flavor Preferences
Even though many low-sodium dressings are vinaigrettes, there are plenty of flavor options. Some have fruity and sweeter flavors, such as a raspberry vinaigrette. Others have a little kick of spice to them, such as a honey mustard vinaigrette. You may also find some unique flavor combinations that contain avocado, chia seeds, and cilantro.
Others combine turmeric and lemon, while some combine classic flavors like red wine and olive oil or oil and vinegar. There are also the classic balsamic and Italian flavors. Some Italian varieties can include either extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
If you prefer creamy dressings, there are low-sodium options made with a Greek or standard yogurt base. Some brands also offer low-sodium Caesar, ranch, and blue cheese varieties that offer a richer flavor.
Great Ingredients For Low Calorie Salad Dressings
- Low fat yogurts
- For creamy dressings: Greek yogurt in the low-fat version.
- All kinds of vinegar
- Fruit puree or fruits like lemon, orange, lime, melon, apricots
- high-quality vegetable oils
- fresh herbs – chopped or pureed
- Herb salt, chili salt
- Vegetables like bell bell pepper, cucumber
- Garlic, onion
- Organic honey
- Vegetable broth
You can use these ingredients creatively as you like. And thus prepare a different low-calorie dressing every time.
Low calorie salad dressings always have a Low fat base. These can be yogurt or buttermilk, among others. Oils are flavor carriers.
It’s especially delicious when you combine salty and sour ingredients with a little sweetness. For this you can use either fruit, fruit puree or honey.
What we want to say: It pays for you to be willing to experiment. Because just by swapping out a small ingredient, low-calorie salad dressings taste completely different. That way, your salad will never be boring again.
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Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
My go-to apple cider vinegar salad dressing recipe. If EBF has a house dressing, this would be it! Get all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar with this delicious dressing! Use it for this Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad or as a .
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons: 163 calories, 18g fat, 1g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fiber, 0g protein
One of my favorite zesty dressings to use for Mexican themed salads. Try it on my or as a marinade for grilled shrimp.
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons: 87 calories, 9g fat, 2g carbs, 1g sugar, 0g fiber, 0g protein
Nutrition per 2 Tablespoons: 103 calories, 9g fat, 5g carbs, 4g sugar, 0g fiber, 0g protein
What Is The Best Salad Dressing For Weight Loss
Here Are Few Healthy Dressings That May Help You In Your weight Loss Journey:
- Lemon Juice and Olive Oil Dressing. This basic dressing goes well with almost all kinds of salads.
- Greek Yogurt Dressing. If you want your dressing to be a little thick and creamy, you can go for Greek yogurt.
- Balsamic Vinegar Dressing.
Read Also: Hidden Valley Ranch Broccoli Salad
Our Picks For The Top 10 Great
Your choice of salad dressing can determine whether your salad is delicious or a dud. And pouring on the high-fat dressing can quickly transform your healthy salad into a calorie bomb. So it’s a good thing there are plenty of great-tasting choices in the light salad dressing category.
After all, salad dressing is one of the more versatile items in your refrigerator. Not only is it a crucial finishing touch for your greens, a bottle of salad dressing can quickly transform into a marinade, dip, sandwich spread, or dressing for pasta salad.
To help you make the best choice, WebMD went to the grocery store to find the 10 most satisfying salad dressings that wonât blow your calorie budget — whether you prefer creamy and vinaigrette. Here are the results of our taste test.
Best Vinaigrette-Style Salad Dressings
This dressing has a wonderfully balanced flavor, with the honey and mustard flavors both coming through nicely. I found myself going back for more of this dressing during the taste test. It would also work well as a dip, spread, or marinade.
First 5 ingredients listed on the label: Water, Creole mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, soybean and/or canola oil.
Per serving : 70 calories, 4 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate.
Wish-Bone Light Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
Per serving : 80 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 125 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate.
Making Your Own Dressing Allows You To Control Fat Sugar And Sodium Content
Ditkoffs favorite salad dressing is a balsamic-Dijon dressing that she makes at home in minutes using just a handful of ingredients: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus salt and pepper to taste. Not only is it easy to control the quality of ingredients and EVOO used, but it is also so much cheaper to make your own dressing, Ditkoff said.
As a store-bought alternative, she recommends Stonewall Kitchens olive oil and balsamic dressing. It only contains four ingredients and it tastes great on almost any kind of salad or as a marinade for chicken, she said.
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Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette
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.
What Is The Difference Between Store
Well, but why is it actually worth having a Dressing to make yourself? There are several good reasons for this.
Have you ever looked at the Ingredients of ready dressings considered? In addition to sugar and flavor enhancers, it also contains a lot of preservatives, which ensure that the dressing lasts forever.
For taste, there’s a big helping of salt and fat on top. And that makes your salad really unhealthy and high in calories.
You’re miles away from a low-calorie salad dressing when you buy a dressing.
Yes, you could just buy a light dressing. This is also available now. But here, too, you should look at the label. Products in the light version contain less fat, but very often sugar or a sugar substitute.
Many of these substitutes are suspected of promoting appetite and causing cravings. In other words, exactly what no one really needs.
There even a healthy High Protein Salad Bowl suddenly become a sugar trap.
You can recognize very high-calorie dressings on the one hand by the calorie information on the label and on the other hand by the sugar content. Sugar is a very cheap flavor enhancer. But sugar really has no place in salads.
Vegetable oils are also not spared in store-bought dressings. The fat in the oils is a natural flavor carrier. This is often used to spice up products that are boring in terms of taste.
Yet it could be so delicious if you made your own salad dressing.
Low-calorie dressings are ready mixed in no time. And they taste really delicious.
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Salad Dressing Recipe Tips To Keep In Mind:
Maple Grove Farms Fat
We were so close to loving this low-calorie condiment until we looked at the nutrition facts panel. The potassium sorbate on the bottle’s backside indicate this is a dressing you should skip. The preservative has been shown to be genotoxic to human lymphocytes , according to a study published in Toxicology in Vitro.
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Low Point Salad Dressings
A question that comes up a lot in Weight Watcher forums and meetings, especially during the summer months, is what Low Point salad dressings are available.
It’s always exciting to find a tasty low Smart Point salad dressing that fits in to the Weight Watchers plans.
Whether you follow the Blue, Green or Purple plan you will find a low point salad dressing to suit you!
Take a look at this list of dressings available in the US for some inspiration.
We are lucky as more and more low fat & low sugar dressings have become available recently and many taste very similar to the high fat, high sugar ones which are so high in points.
I’ve looked at some of the most popular lighter salad dressings and have worked out their SmartPoints per 2 tablespoons for you below.
I have also included information on where they can be purchased.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit this page to see what that means.
Ken’s SteakHouse Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette | 2 SP per 2 tbsp
This Balsamic Vinaigrette is 2 SmartPoints per 2 tablespoons. It is gluten free and has 33% less calories and 50% less fat than regular dressings. It is available from most major grocery stores and also from the Ken’s Steak House Store on Amazon here.
Simply 60 Roasted Garlic Dressing | 2 SP per 2 tbsp
Skinnygirl poppyseed dressing | 0 SP per 2 tbsp
Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Ranch | 2 SP per 2 tbsp
Bolthouse Farms Raspberry Balsamic | 1 SP per 2 tbsp
Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
This twist on classic Ranch dressing tastes so good you’ll never realize it’s good for you! Instead of being made with mayo, the base is greek yogurt making it a rich and creamy dressing without the calories. It’s even filled with probiotics from the yogurt.
The Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing can be used as a dressing or a dip and is great on any salad you’d normally serve with ranch. Try it with my Vegetarian Cobb Salad. It’s also great as a dip for my Baked Zucchini Fries.
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Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing
Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing works out at 45 calories for two tablespoons .
The dressing is made with yogurt rather than buttermilk or mayo which traditional Ranch Dressings are made from. This reduces it calories / SmartPoints significantly.
It is available to buy from most larger food stores including Walmart & Shoprite.
Olive Oil And Vinegar
This is probably the most classic and basic of all dressings . The two ingredients combine to create something that’s equally smooth, sweet, and tart. The best part is that by opting for this low-carb salad dressing, you’re avoiding other carb-heavy, store-bought versions. Most olive oil-and-vinegar dressings have zero net carbs, which is why they’re recommended for followers of the keto diet.
Read Also: What Salad Dressing Is Best For Diabetics
The Healthiest Salad Dressings Ranked By Nutritionists
Salads can be a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein and other nutrients, but things can quickly go downhill with additions like fried foods croutons and bacon, were looking at you and the all-important dressing. While drenching your kale salad with ranch might make it more delicious, youre simultaneously dialing down its health benefits.
Store-bought dressings are often high in saturated fat, sodium, added sugar and calories, in addition to artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. And it all adds up while a typical serving size is 2 tablespoons, its not uncommon for people to use more.
Getting familiar with serving sizes and having measuring spoons and cups at home is a good way to practice so that eventually you can eyeball correct portions in order to keep them in check, Rebecca Ditkoff, a registered dietitian and founder of Nutrition by RD, told HuffPost.
We chatted with three nutritionists to gain some insight into what makes a salad dressing healthy or unhealthy, and asked them to rank some of the nations most popular varieties.
How To Make Homemade Salad Dressing
Each of these recipes are made with minimal ingredients. There are a few ways to mix up homemade salad dressings:
- Put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up! I like using this method for oil-based dressings like vinaigrettes.
- Put all of the ingredients in a high powered blender and blend! I like using this method for creamier dressings that use ingredients like avocado but it also works great for vinaigrettes!
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Healthy & Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing
This dressing is nothing short of dreamy! My Healthy & Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing features all the flavors of guacamole but in a healthy salad dressing package. If you love avocado, lime, and cilantro… this is for you.
Serve this dressing with any salad or even as a drizzle on top of tacos. It’s also great with my Vegetarian Taco Salad.
Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing
You just can’t beat the fresh flavor of a Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing. They are surprisingly simple to make and taste so much better than most bottled salad dressings. Plus you can control the ingredients and make them as healthy, sugar free, low carb, and low calorie as you’d like!
I’ve been making and posting healthy salad dressings on Running in a Skirt for years and wanted to give y’all a place where you could easily find them all in one place. In all, I’ve created 15 healthy salad dressing recipes covering a huge spectrum of tastes and cuisines. There is something for everyone!
I’ve got the basics covered like a Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch, Healthy Greek Salad Dressing, Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing, and Healthy Red Wine Vinaigrette. You’ll also find some unique options like an Apple Cider Vinaigrette and Creamy Thai Peanut Dressing.
In fact, I feel like this is the ultimate resource to making your own healthy homemade salad dressings!
Read Also: What Kind Of Dressing Goes On A Greek Salad
The Benefits Of Olive Oil According To A Nutritional Psychiatrist
While a good quality olive oil is great for salad dressings or light sautéing, it doesnt work for every cooking method because of its relatively low smoke point: the oil’s flavor will start to degenerate, resulting in an unpleasant taste if you’re using it for frying or other high-temperature preparations.
So, what’s a home cook to do? Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN and author of The O2 Diet, recommends nine other popular oils that are healthy, full of flavor and may be a better alternative for cooking, depending on the dish.
Olive Garden Lite Italian Salad Dressing
The Olive Garden Lite Italian salad dressing works out at 30 calories for 2 tablespoons .
Under half the calories of the regular dressing, this lite version of the popular dressing is perfect if you like your dressing with lots of flavour but not lots of calories!
It is available to buy from many larger food stores but is also available to buy online from Amazon.
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Why Use Mason Jars
Mason jars are perfect for making homemade salad dressings.
With them being glass, you dont have to worry about any nasty chemicals leaking into your food from unsafe plastics.
They are easy to wash and reuse. Buy a few and they will last for years! They’re also dishwasher safe.
If you buy the mason jars with a wide mouth, you can even get a utensil down in the jar!
Plus, the ring and lid seal tightly, making you confident about giving the dressing a good shake before serving.
Follow Your Heart Organic Caesar Dressing
This Organic Caesar Dressing from Follow your Heart works out at 70 calories for 2 tablespoons .
This dressing is suitable for vegans as it doesn’t contain the eggs, dairy products and anchovies that many caesar dressings are made with.
It is available to buy from larger food stores including Whole Foods Market, Pubix and Target.
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Creamy & Healthy Thai Peanut Dressing
Do you love that peanut sauce at Thai restaurants? This salad dressing tastes JUST like that but in a salad dressing form. My Creamy and Healthy Thai Peanut Dressing is so good you’ll want to drink it out of the bottle! It’s great on any Asian inspired salad, as a dip, and even as a pasta sauce.
Serve it with my Thai Peanut Noodle Salad.
Serve it with my Shrimp Avocado and Lime Salad.