Better Salad Dressing

What’s the best salad dressing? In efforts to answer that common question, I reviewed the options at Sprouts this weekend. Here are some tips for picking out a healthy and tasty salad dressing.

  • Don’t go “low fat” or “fat free”. When fat is removed from a dressing, sugar is used instead. Since fat promotes a sense of satiety when eating and enhances nutrient absorption from the colorful veggies in your salad, a little fat goes a long way to satisfy your appetite, improve portion control and enhance your health.
  • Read the ingredient list. Look for a short, simple ingredient list that reads like a recipe.
  • Canola and olive oil are preferable to soybean oil. Soybean oil is high in omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory whereas canola is high in omega 3 and olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat.
  • Be aware of genetic modification. Soybean oil and canola oil are genetically modified unless the salad dressing is organic or labeled as non-GMO. Olive oil is not generally genetically modified.
  • Limit sugar. Read the ingredient list and avoid salad dressing with sugar, syrup or honey among the first few ingredients. Review the nutrition facts panel and limit sugar to fewer than 6 grams, which is about 2 teaspoons added sugar.

Best Vinaigrette

Brianna’s Home Style

  • Canola oil
  • No added sugar in many varieties and 7 grams sugar in Honey Mustard

Best Olive Oil Dressing

Olive oil is known to be a great choice for a healthy heart, mind and body. I was surprised that it was not easier to find salad dressings made with olive oil. But most dressings that included olive oil, where a blend with olive oil and soybean oil. This one is 100% olive oil.

Bragg Healthy Vinaigrette

  • Organic extra virgin olive oil
  • Low sodium

Best Low Cal Dressing

Okay, so I started off by saying “steer clear” of low fat dressings because they tend to be high in sugar. But this option is only 35 calories per serving compared with 100-130 calories per serving in the other dressings and has only 2 grams of sugar, and it’s natural sugar. How’s it taste? Really good! Plus it’s made with olive oil. If your looking to control calorie intake, Bolthouse has some options for you.

Bolthouse Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil Vinaigrette

  • Olive oil
  • Natural sugar from fruit puree
  • No added sugar
  • Low calorie

Best Creamy Dressing

Everyone loves thick, creamy Ranch dressing. This week I saw a new Creamy Cilantro that I couldn’t pass up. To reduce the calories in these thick dressings, mix a little bit of plain yogurt or milk into the dressing.

Lighthouse

  • Canola oil
  • No added sugar in creamy dressings

Most Environmentally Friendly

Finding non-GMO or organic salad dressing is difficult. In addition to Bragg’s organic vinaigrette shown above, this is a super option for those looking to avoid genetically modified foods.

Drew’s All Natural Dressing*

  • Non-GMO canola oil
  • No added sugar in many varieties

*not gluten free, made on shared equipment with wheat

Use salad dressing wisely to savor your meal! A little extra flavor from salad dressing helps the veggies go down. Salad dressings are also delicious mixed with plain yogurt or cottage cheese or blended with canned beans for easy veggie dips.

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.

2 thoughts on “Better Salad Dressing

  1. Thank you for all of the salad dressing information. If I run out of bottled dressing is there a quick recipe you recommend for a fresh homemade salad dressing? And how long will it last in the fridge?
    Thanks,
    Jayme

    • Hi Jayme! For homemade dressing, start with a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. And any fresh or dried herbs that you want. You can play around with the ratio too; you could use orange juice and then use less oil because the juice is sweeter. I also like a teaspoon of mustard to help emulsify the dressing, and minced garlic is also delicious. I like 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon mustard and 1 teaspoon garlic, plus salt and pepper to your liking. Keeps for a while, probably about 2 weeks. Let me know what you come up with!!

      Nourish yourself. Learn how. Get results!

      Hana Abdulaziz Feeney, MS, RD, CSSD Nutrition and Food Coach 520-429-3418

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