How to Buy a Healthy Salad Dressing
Find our top picks for healthy salad dressings, plus how to choose a healthy dressing at the grocery store and what to look for on the nutrition label.
It's nice to have a homemade salad dressing on hand, but c'mon, life gets busy and the convenience of store-bought salad dressings sometimes wins. But with the right dressing, you can take a plate of greens from dull to delightful. Here's how to pick a healthy salad dressing at the grocery store that doesn't undo the work of those veggies.
Pictured Recipe: Spring Pea Salad with Strawberries
1. Forget Fat-Free Salad Dressing
The promise that "fat-free" is better for you is really outdated science. Research shows that your body needs some fat to absorb the healthy nutrients in veggies. To make matters worse, low-fat dressings often replace the lost flavor from fat with extra sugar.
Related: 4 Foods to Choose Full-Fat
2. Keep an Eye on Sugar
It can be really hard to find a salad dressing without sugar. A touch of sweet is sometimes needed to balance the tang, but bottled dressings can have way too much. We found some with over 2 teaspoons (8 grams) of added sugar per 2-tablespoon serving. That's like pouring syrup on your salad. That said, you may want to pass up dressings labeled "sugar-free" if you want to skip artificial sweeteners.
3. Additives to Avoid
Dressings can have a long list of additives, ranging from benign thickeners, like xanthan gum, to questionable food dyes and downright unhealthy hydrogenated oils. With a little searching, you can find ones with clean ingredient lists. When in doubt, the cleanest dressings are ususally the ones with the shortest ingredient lists.
Dressings We Love
- Marie's Yogurt Ranch
- Drew's Shiitake Ginger
- Marie's Chunky Blue Cheese
- Trader Joe's Romano Caesar
- Stonewall Kitchen Olive Oil & Balsamic
- Bragg Vinaigrette
Numbers to Look For
Amount Per Serving