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.

Spring Pea Salad with Strawberries

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The promise that "fat-free" is better for you is really outdated science.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.

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

Serving Size: 2 Tbsp.

Amount Per Serving

Sodium = 200mg
Sugar = 3g
Fat > 0g

Also Check Out:
Healthy Salad Recipes
Cheap Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
How to Pick Healthy Condiments

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