Having a salad is a great way to incorporate veggies and other healthy foods into your diet. However, not all salads are made equal. Depending on the ingredients you add and the proportions you use, the actual nutritional content of your salad could surprise you. To keep your salad healthy, there is one ingredient you should definitely avoid adding.
Nobody likes a dry salad, but you should be careful about what dressings you choose. Many store-bought options pack in calories, saturated fat, sugar, or sodium – which is not an ideal combination if you’re trying to be healthier.
If weight loss is your goal, these added calories could pose even more of a problem. “Ultimately, you need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight,” Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, tells Eating Well. A high-calorie dressing could get in the way of that goal.
There’s no one rule for healthy vs. unhealthy dressings, so a quick look at the nutritional information is probably the best way to evaluate your options. You’re also probably better off steering clear of Caesar, Thousand Island, or Blue Cheese dressings. These creamy dressing options tend to be high in calories – and sodium, sugar, and fat, depending on your pick.
You’re not exactly in the all-clear going for a vinaigrette either. Although they may be lighter, there’s still the possibility that they’ll add more than their fair share of calories to your salad. Again, it’s smart to double checking the nutrition label before pouring any dressing on your salad.
You could also always try a homemade salad dressing to make sure there’s no ingredients in there that you you wouldn’t feel comfortable adding to your diet.
Sunshine Salad Dressing
What You’ll Need: plain Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, sea salt, black pepper
Full Recipe: Cookie and Kate
Basic Italian Vinaigrette
What You’ll Need: white or red wine vinegar, Parmesan cheese, garlic, minced, granulated sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, olive oil
Full Recipe: The Gourmet RD