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There are so many salad dressings to choose from. Sure, you know what kind you want on your salad. Some days you’re in the mood for a creamy Caesar. Other days you want herbed vinaigrette. But even once you’ve narrowed it down to the type of dressing you’re craving, there are so many brands and types that it can get tough to choose.
Not all brands make their dressings the same — some brands’ products are healthier than others. And when you’re cooking yourself up a nutritious and crisp salad, you don’t want to pour something without any nutritional value over the top. Not when you have an equally delicious option that could be better for you!
It takes some serious poring over numbers and labels to get to the bottom of which ones are really the healthiest. We did all that label-roving for you and narrowed it down for each of the 11 most popular types of salad dressing. On one list, you’ll find which options are the healthiest.
On the other, you’ll find the unhealthiest options.
Since there are so many brands out there, ranging from generic to specialty, we selected the most popularly sold store-bought salad dressing brands. These included Annie’s, Ken’s, Kraft, Newman’s Own, Wish-Bone, Hidden Valley, Bolthouse Farms, and Marie’s. From there, we checked the nutrition labels for each type of dressing to find the healthiest and unhealthiest version of each.
To judge the healthfulness of each dressing, we checked the calorie count, fat content, sodium content, and added sugar. Find out which brands sell the healthiest salad dressings and which sell the unhealthiest salad dressings for all your favorite flavors.
This Balsamic Vinaigrette isn’t going to derail your diet — it’s 100 calories per serving with 3 grams of sugar. Not too much of a difference from the other dressings we found, but of the most popular brands, this was the most caloric and contained the most sodium.
Anything called “Super Blue Cheese” is going to be a little extra. But this dressing is a lot extra. In a 2-tablespoon serving, there are 160 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 220 milligrams of sodium.
We surveyed the nutrition facts of over 20 varieties of creamy, thick Caesar dressing — but this one was the heaviest. Wish-Bone Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing has 180 calories and 290 milligrams of sodium. Each serving also includes close to 30 percent of your recommended daily value of fats, with 18 grams. It’s easy to over-pour, so if you’re watching your dietary fat intake, keep that in mind!
Even though this dressing is marketed as “Lite,” it might not be your most nutritious option. The total fat content is 6 grams, but to make up for the (slight) difference in fats, there are 11 grams of sugar per serving! That’s around a third of your recommended daily limit of added sugars. In fact, sugar is the very first ingredient on the label. It’s supposed to be dressing, not syrup!
While most Green Goddess dressings are filled to the brim with avocados, fresh herbs, and other nutritious ingredients, Kraft’s Green Goddess Dressing is filled with corn syrup and sour cream. The vitamin and mineral profile is bleak; you might want to add nutrients from other sources if you use this brand.
Honey mustard is usually a low-calorie, low-fat option for dressing your salads. Newman’s Own Honey Dijon Mustard Dressing, however, contains 140 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving, more than any other honey mustard dressing we could find. It also has 6 grams of sugar — some from honey, but some from other added refined sugars as well.
While many of the other Italian dressings we found were water-based and low in calories, Ken’s Italian dressing contains more oil than water — meaning it has more calories and more fat per pour. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But keep in mind, each serving also contains more than a third of your daily value of sodium.
Now, ranch dressing isn’t exactly a light food. But this version was heavier than all the rest, even Hidden Valley’s decadent, diet-unfriendly dressings. A serving contains 180 calories and 20 grams of fat.
Marie’s Thousand Island dressing could become thousand-calorie if you’re not careful. Each serving contains 150 calories and 15 grams of fat.