Top 5 Healthy Salad Dressings
Does a healthy salad dressing really exist? The shelves in the local supermarket do not hold a single salad dressing with a nutrition label that shouts “Vitamin-Packed!” and rightly so. Dressings are not exactly healthy in terms of providing essential nutrients, but most of us need them to liven up salads and some are certainly healthier than others. Choosing a dressing that’s low sodium or low fat is sensible, but buyer beware: most of the low fat dressings are high in sodium, and those that are low in sodium are probably high in sugar to make up ground in the flavor department. So, what to do?
The best option is to make your own. I know–not what you want to hear. But we’re talking minutes here folks, not hours. In its simplest form, the homemade dressing can take even less than a minute to make. Here’s how:
In a jar, mix one part extra virgin olive oil to two parts red wine vinegar. For example, if you use ¼ cup olive oil, use ½ cup (double the amount) of red wine vinegar. Add a few shakes of parsley, oregano, and black pepper to taste.
See how easy that is? That jar o’ goodness will last in the fridge for a few weeks.
Now let’s talk serving size: three spoonfuls (a regular small silverware spoon). That’s about 1 ½ tablespoons, for those interested in the numbers. Remember, olive oil is great for the heart, but it still has 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. Drizzling1 1/2 tablespoons of the simple aforementioned dressing on your salad adds about 7 grams of fat so it’s important to keep the serving size reasonable. Don’t freak about that, though. The fat is mostly of the healthy, monounsaturated variety. Also, unlike most store-bought dressings, this one contains no sodium or sugar and no chemicals, such as artificial coloring and xantham gum.
If you still really want to buy a ready-made dressing, I’ve listed a few decent choices along with their stats based on our 1 ½ tablespoon serving size (most labels give 2 tablespoons as the serving size, so I’ve adjusted for that). The homemade dressing is listed first so you can compare it to the others.
- Homemade dressing: 40 calories, 7g fat, 0g sodium, 0g sugar
- Olde Cape Cod All Natural Balsamic Vinaigrette: 19 calories, 0g fat, 135mg sodium, 4g sugar
- Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette: 60 calories, 4.5g fat, 90 mg sodium, 4.5g sugar
- Newman’s Own Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette: Stats are about the same as Ken’s
- Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Olive Oil Vinaigrette: 45 calories, 4.5g fat, 180mg sodium, 1.5g sugar
–Laura DeLallo, Founder, Living Fit
(Laura is a certified personal trainer and weight management consultant. Want to train with her? Visit Personal Training at Living Fit. Want to learn more about her? Visit the About page.) >
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