Cut back on fat without losing flavor by using these ingredients instead.

EatingWell Editors
January 23, 2014
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Cut back on fat without losing flavor by using these ingredients instead. Learn about 4 must-have salad ingredients

No doubt, store-bought dressings are super-convenient, but making your own doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. Most dressings rely on a simple oil-and-vinegar combo that you can dress up in numerous ways with fresh herbs or spices.

As an added benefit, making your own salad dressings allows you to choose high-quality, healthful ingredients. Smart choices include using heart-healthy oils like canola and olive oil for vinaigrette-based dressings and opting for low-fat Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream in place of higher-fat mayonnaise and sour cream. Try these healthful swaps too:

Smart swaps for healthier salad dressings:

Instead of sour cream, try nonfat plain yogurt, or equal parts low-fat yogurt and no-salt-added low-fat cottage cheese. Low-fat Greek yogurt adds tang to creamy dressings-try making a creamy blue cheese-tarragon dressing next time you're craving store-bought blue-cheese dressing.

Instead of crème fraîche, try whisking low-fat sour cream and nonfat plain yogurt together. You'll get the same tangy, smooth flavor with less saturated fat.

Instead of full-fat mayonnaise, look for nonfat mayo or try nonfat yogurt, reduced-fat sour cream or buttermilk to get a rich taste without the added fat.

Instead of full-fat cheese, try the nonfat or low-fat version of your favorite varieties. Full-flavored cheeses like extra-sharp Cheddar or Parmesan may also help you keep portion sizes realistic; the strong flavor means you'll get more flavor for less cheese. That means less saturated fat and fewer calories, too.