When you think of healthy food, a salad is probably one of the first dishes that comes to mind.
Chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fresh veggies, a salad is one of the best ways to eat healthy while still getting tons of flavor. However, you can undo a lot of the nutritional benefits of a salad just by drizzling it with the “wrong” dressing!
Salad dressings come in a wide variety of flavors and textures, but not all dressings are created equal. As much as we love a good blue cheese salad dressing, there’s a pretty good chance that it is adding a lot of unnecessary fats and sodium to your meal. As a rule of thumb, pretty much any “creamy” salad dressing will end up on the unhealthier end of the spectrum. While we all deserve to treat ourselves, if you are aiming for the healthiest option out there— don’t believe that all salad dressings are the same.
So, what’s the best healthy salad dressing out there?
It’s hard to pin down just one, but that’s why we put together this article! We’ll go into the basics of what makes a healthy salad dressing and what to look for the next time you’re shopping for one!
From the critical ingredients of a healthy dressing to extra boosts you can add to maximize your health benefits, this article has everything you need to create the perfect salad, dressing, and all.
All The Right Stuff
If you’re getting store-bought dressing, you know that there are tons of different options to choose from; so how can you tell which ones are healthy and which ones aren’t? The key lies in the ingredients. If you can learn to keep an eye out for a couple of key components, you can start picking out healthy salad dressing in no time.
For starters, you’ll want to avoid dressings that are heavy in saturated fats, which can come from ingredients like buttermilk, mayonnaise, egg yolks, or cheese. That’s not to say you should avoid fat in your salad dressing entirely! You will want some percentage of healthy fats in your dressing, which can be found in extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, and avocado oil.
A few other vital things to look for in healthy dressings are:
- Limited levels of sodium
- No more than 3 grams of added sugars
- No artificial colors or preservatives
If you can follow these few rules of thumb, you’re already well on your way to finding all of the best healthy salad dressings!
More Than Just Ingredients
Even if you know the ingredients to look for, shopping for dressing can still be pretty tricky. Not everyone wants to look through the ingredients list, so we gathered a few of our favorites that are guaranteed to be a healthy choice!
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
If you’re ever unsure about what dressings are healthy or not, balsamic vinaigrette is pretty much always going to be a good, healthy choice. Typically, a vinaigrette dressing consists of oil and vinegar… and that’s it!
Balsamic vinaigrette is arguably the most common type of vinaigrette, but you can genuinely make this dressing with any kind of vinegar and oil. You’ll get a good helping of healthy fats from the oil you choose, and the vinegar will help to add flavor, sodium, and the perfect amount of tang. For a lower-sodium version, try swapping out the balsamic for apple cider vinegar!
Honey Mustard Dressing
Honey Mustard falls into the category of “sometimes healthy, sometimes not,” so make sure you’re paying attention to the ingredients. In this case, the fewer ingredients, the better, and a good honey mustard dressing can be made with only honey, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and oil! Most store-bought options will have additional chemicals and preservatives, though, so making this dressing at home might be the best course of action.
Ranch dressing is arguably the most popular salad dressing out there, but it isn’t exactly the healthiest of options, or is it? Your standard, run-of-the-mill ranch dressing will be chock full of saturated fats; that much is true.
Our Backyard Ranch Fermented is the first fermented Ranch of its kind. With 60 fewer calories than the leading competitor, you really can have your Ranch and eat it too.
Here at Cleveland Kitchen, we’ve developed a few different healthy salad dressing recipes with one thing in common; fermented vegetables!
If you haven’t already tried our delicious fermented sauerkraut or classic kimchi, then you might not understand what makes fermented veggies so good! Apart from their delicious flavor and the ability to pair well with nearly any food, fermented veggies are also a mainstay in the healthy eating community.
This is because fermented foods (mainly fermented veggies) are a fantastic source of probiotics. If you’re not familiar with the term, probiotics are tiny microorganisms that live inside our bodies and help to regulate many different biological functions. By adding probiotics to your diet, you can significantly help balance your “gut health,” a concept most people don’t even remotely consider when it comes to your health!
Typically, to add probiotics to your diet, you would turn to probiotic supplements or other probiotic-rich foods. However, with our line of dressings, you can get the benefits of a probiotic boost on top of your salad! We’re taking salad dressings to a whole new level, and we can’t wait for you to try them!