Best Salad Dressing Brands for Diabetes

By: Rachel Meltzer Warren, M.S., RDN  |  Diabetic Living Summer 2019  |  Dress Up

You have lots of choices when it comes to dressing your salad. Here's how to find options that are both nutritious and full of flavor.

Salad dressing can do wonders in turning a bland and boring bowl of greens into something delicious and craveworthy. We love making simple salad dressing from scratch but it's also super convenient to have a bottle or two of premade salad dressing on hand. While there are plenty of unhealthy bottled salad dressings loaded with bad-for-you trans fats and added sugar (ingredients to watch out for in general and especially if you have diabetes) there are also plenty of healthy options. You have lots of choices when it comes to dressing your salad—it's just about knowing how to choose the best one. Here's how to find salad dressings that are both nutritious and full of flavor.

How to Choose the Best Salad Dressings for Diabetes

Keep these shopping tips in mind the next time you're at the grocery store.

Fall for Fat

Fat is not the enemy! In fact, pairing vegetables with a little fat (such as what you'll find in salad dressing) helps your body absorb valuable nutrients like lycopene and beta carotene, antioxidants that help keep arteries healthy. While limiting total fat can be a strategy to help limit calories, many low-fat or light dressings are not necessarily low-cal. When you look at fat on the Nutrition Facts label, focus on saturated fat rather than total fat. Limiting saturated fat may help lower your risk for heart disease.

Get Smart About Sugar

High-fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, brown sugar, fruit juice, and plain old white table sugar (and all these other names for sugar) are all types of sugar that can be found in salad dressings. Most salad dressings will have some form of sugar added, but fat-free salad dressings are often higher in sugar and carbohydrates than full-fat varieties. Check the Nutrition Facts label to see how many grams of sugar and carbs are in each serving.

Shake Out Sodium

Salad dressings can be a surprisingly high source of sodium: we found dressings that packed as much as 360 mg into one serving. Looking at the Nutrition Facts label can help you keep sodium in check, which is especially important if you're limiting your sodium for heart health.

Mind Your Serving

A typical portion of salad dressing is 2 tablespoons. Check the Nutrition Facts panel to confirm the serving size of your favorite dressing—and then use a measuring spoon to see how your normal portion compares. If you're using more than 2 tablespoons, remember to account for the additional calories, sodium, and saturated fat.

Know Your Numbers

Look for dressings that have the following per serving (2 tablespoons):

≤ 150 calories

≤ 5g carbohydrates

≤ 2.5g sat fat

≤ 180mg sodium

Diabetic Living Approved Salad Dressings

Check out our best picks for healthy salad dressings.

Vinaigrette

Newman's Own Organic Oil & Vinegar Dressing

Newman's Own Oil & Vinegar Vinaigrette

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.

Per serving: 140 calories, 1 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g saturated fat, 135 mg sodium

Bonus! This dressing is sugar free.

Creamy

Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.
Per serving: 35 calories, 1 g carbohydrates, 1 g saturated fat, 135 mg sodium.

Fruit-Based

Annie's Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette

Annie's Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.
Per serving: 45 calories, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g saturated fat, 55 mg sodium.

Flavored

Annie's Organic Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Annie's Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.
Per serving: 70 calories, 3 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g saturated fat, 170 mg sodium

Healthy Salad Recipes to Try

Start by building a better salad—aim to fill your plate with at least 2 to 3 cups of greens and 1/2 to 1 cup of greens and 1/2 to 1 cup of other produce. And then top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of our healthy salad dressing picks. The next time you make the recipe, switch it up and try a different salad dressing to find your favorite combination.

Chopped Cobb Salad

Chopped Cobb Salad

Romaine lettuce + chopped tomato + chopped cucumber + sliced mushrooms + sliced cooked chicken breast + chopped hard-boiled egg + cannellini beans + creamy dressing

This healthy chopped salad is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. You can reserve the remaining hard-boiled egg half for a snack.

Total: 410 calories, 17 grams carbs

Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Avocado & Walnuts

Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Avocado & Walnuts

Baby spinach + chopped red onion + sliced strawberries + diced avocado + toasted walnut pieces + vinaigrette

Serve this summery strawberry spinach salad alongside soup or a half sandwich, or top with grilled chicken or roasted salmon for a complete and easy healthy meal.

Total: 296 calories, 27 grams carbs

Watch: How to Make Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

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