Salads offer a fantastic way to get some more vegetables into your eating pattern. They also present a unique opportunity to try a few new vegetables in a low-pressure setting. However, the dressing you pour on your salad can add a lot of unexpected calories, fat, sugar, and more! Take a look at the comparison below to see how your favorite dressing relates to the others.
As you can see, Italian dressing is generally the most calorie-dense, with French and honey mustard close behind. In terms of sugars, honey mustard packs the most, with 6 grams of sugar in a single 2 tablespoon serving! French dressing also loads the sugar into the same size serving. If you’re watching sodium, be sure to note the heavyweights in the sodium division — Italian, lite Italian, and thousand island top the chart in terms of sodium content. Finally, Italian, Caesar, bleu cheese, French, and thousand island all have the most saturated fat.
For a zippy alternative to heavy dressings, add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to your salad. It contains only 7 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol and sodium, and 1 g sugars for the same serving size as the dressings above.
And remember, check the Nutrition Facts label as you shop! What you see may surprise you.
By Judy Doherty, BS, PCII
A note about the data: All salad dressing information comes from manufacturer data provided by peapod.com. The portion size of each dressing was 2 tablespoons, and the brand was the "store brand" for each flavor. Lemon juice information comes from nutritiondata.self.com.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.