Best Low Calorie Salad Dressings
Salads, you either love them or hate them, especially when you're on a diet. Either way, you know how great they are for weight management and general health. That is, of course, until you drown your leafy greens with high-calorie salad dressings.
How can you be sure your favorite salad dressing isn't turning your innocent salad to the dark side? Check to see if the dressing meets these two qualifications:
Under 150 Calories per serving (2 tablespoons)
The average serving of salad dressing is 2 Tablespoons, so make sure you read the label carefully. If the dressing is over 150 calories for 2 Tablespoons, you may want to reconsider your choice. For example, the 2 Tablespoons of the Buttermilk Ranch dressing from Brianna's, a popular brand, is 160 calories.
Think about the calorie ratio between the dressing and veggies. A cup of greens is only about 10 calories, not very filling at all! To ensure you won't go gunning it for the vending machine later, make sure you make your salad substantial. Add extra nutrition and energy by including a variety of vegetables. But not by dousing your veggies with fattening dressings.
Here are a few low-calorie selections to try:
Annie's Balsamic Vinaigrette, 100 calories per 2 Tablespoons
Bolthouse Farms Creamy Caesar, 46 calories per 2 Tablespoons
Maple Grove Farms Fat Free Vidalia Onion Dressing, 20 calories per 2 Tablespoons
Marzetti Simply Dressed Light Celery Seed Slaw, 10 calories per 2 Tablespoons
Walden Farms French, 0 calories per 2 Tablespoons (and yes, that's correct - zero calories per serving!)
If you’re craving a creamy salad dressing like ranch, check out Walden Farms salad dressings. Available at supermarkets, these dressings are zero calories and come in indulgent flavors like Bacon Ranch.
Grams of Sugar per serving
Don't turn your healthy, high-fiber salad into a dessert by using sugary dressings. Use dressings with less than 3 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoon serving. Proof that reading labels is essential: 2 Tablespoons of Marzetti's Honey French Salad Dressing has 10 grams of sugar!
Many of these condiment companies sneak in cheap flavor by using worthless sugars like high fructose corn syrup. When you consider how 1 gram of sugar is equal to 4 calories, you'll easily see how unhealthy it is to submerge your veggies in a pool of sweet dressing.
Here are a few low-sugar selections to try:
Bragg Organic Fat Free Braggberry Dressing, 3 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoons
Maple Grove Farms Aged Parmesan Peppercorn, 3 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoons
Annie's Lite Gingerly Vinaigrette, 2 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoons
Simply Dressed Lemon Vinaigrette, 1 gram of sugar per 2 Tablespoons
Walden Farms Honey Dijon, 0 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoons
Bonus Salad Tip: Beware Restaurant Salads
Many restaurants serve salads with so much dressing, they can have more calories than a cheeseburger! So get in the habit of saying "dressing on the side please!" That way, in case you're not sure whether a restaurant dressing is a calorie bomb or not, you can take control of how much you consume.
If it's a choose your own dressing kind of deal, opt for a vinaigrette or even just plain old extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, which you can mix with pepper and a dash of salt.
When your salad and dressing arrive, avoid pouring it over the salad yourself. Try this calorie-saving tip: dip your fork into the dressing, then skew a bite of salad. You’ll consume fewer calories overall, and you’ll look adorably dainty doing it!