There is no question that salad may be a nutritious supplement to a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, most salad dressings purchased in stores are loaded with extra sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavorings, all of which can reduce the potential positive effects your salad may have on your health. (1)

A simple and economical alternative to salad dressings purchased from the shop is to make your own at home. In addition, it might provide you with a greater degree of control over the foods that you put on your plate. (1)

The following is a list of eight straightforward and nutritious salad dressings that may be made at home. (1)

The Best and Worst Salad Dressings for Weight Loss

If you attempt to lose weight, salad is an excellent choice for dinner because it often contains fewer calories than other foods and packs a lot of nutrients from fresh vegetables. (2)

But let's be honest: Nothing is more disappointing than a salad that is uninteresting and lacking in moisture. For your bed of greens to have both water and flavor, you will need a great dressing. (2)

In addition, the fats in salad dressing assist your body in absorbing the nutrients that are included in the salad that you are eating. However, if the sauce you choose has excessive calories, saturated fat, sugar, or sodium, it will not help you achieve your health goals; instead, it will work against you. (2)

There are certainly some dressing options that are higher in calories than others," she adds. These are, in general, some of the greatest and worst dressings to use if you're attempting to lose weight. However, this can change depending on the type of diet that you're following, so keep that in mind. (2)

The Healthiest Dressings for Salads to Use When Trying to Lose Weight

Yogurt-Based Dressings

Charlotte Martin, M.S., RDN, CSOWM, CPT believes that yogurt-based dressings like those from Bolthouse Farms give you the best of both worlds because they are creamy but also low in calories. (2

"You get the best of both worlds with yogurt-based dressings like those from Bolthouse Farms," she says. For instance, a serving size of two tablespoons of Bolthouse Farms' "Chunky Blue Cheese" contains only 35 calories and even contributes two grams of protein to the diet. (2)

It provides a creamy texture, but unlike classic creamy dressings, it does not include a lot of the saturated fat you would expect to find there. (2)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Because it contains so few components yet still delivers an excellent flavor, a balsamic vinaigrette is one of those recipes that rarely fails to deliver. Martin says, "It has a touch of sweetness with very little to no added sugar and is loaded with unsaturated fats, both of which are good for your heart." (3)

In addition, the absence of sugar can be beneficial for people trying to lose weight in particular and those following diet programs low in sugar and carbs. (3)

According to Harris-Pincus, "Those trying to follow a lower-carb plan or folks watching added sugars would do better by choosing sweeter dressings like Honey Mustard, Thousand Island, French, or Catalina." Instead, Harris-Pincus recommends opting for oil and vinegar or a balsamic vinaigrette. (3)

Whole 30-Approved Dressings

Choosing dressings that are the Whole 30-approved is a good idea, even though we are not significant fans of the stringent eating plan known as the Whole 30. "When it comes to store-bought salad dressings, the presence of added sugars is a primary concern. (3)

Brands that have been approved by Whole 30 are, thankfully, not permitted to use any added sugar, "says Martin. Therefore, if you look for the Whole 30 stamp of approval on the dressing bottle, you can rest assured that it does not include any added sugar and is compliant with the Whole 30 diet. (3)

Lemon juice and olive oil

Even though it is not the only component of the "dressing," it still counts. Olive oil is chock-full of heart-healthy lipids, and it makes for a lovely, reviving flavor when combined with a squeeze of lemon, a dash of salt and pepper, and a little bit of all three. You might also include shallots or herbs, such as the parsley and lemon used in this vinaigrette. (3)

The Worst Salad Dressings for Weight Loss


There's a good reason why the Caesar salad is mentioned on virtually every menu in the United States of America: "The large amount of fat that is typically found in Caesar dressings is the secret to their incredible flavor. However, a serving size of two tablespoons could contain nearly 20 grams of fat, "Martin explains. (3)

Because the high-fat content also comes from harmful fats, you will not get the same effects as you would if you drizzled olive oil over your spinach instead. In addition, it has a high caloric and salt content, which might negatively impact an individual's efforts to lose weight. (3)

French and Thousand Island Dressings

Martin explains, "One dressing you should probably stay away from is called a thousand islands. Sugar is typically put first on the ingredient list despite the product's notoriety for having a high salt and additional sugar content." That sugar can make it difficult to lose weight and increase blood sugar (which will later lead to a sugar crash). (4)

It's the same with French dressing. "Like Thousand Island dressing, it's packed with added sugar and has sugar at the top of the ingredient list," Martin explains further. "Sugar is also the primary component of this product." (4)

Blue Cheese

According to Harris-Pincus, "the creamy dressings that are higher in fat and calories, such as Caesar, blue cheese, or ranch, contain roughly 110-120 calories and 12g fat per 2 tablespoons, which is about double the amount of calories and fat that are found in some vinaigrettes." (4)

In addition, because blue cheese dressing is so thick, it does not spread very far, so you will probably keep pouring it on and adding more. This may allow you to go back for a couple more helpings. (4)

How to Determine If the Dressing in the Bottle You Bought Is Healthy

Dressings stored in the refrigerator section of the produce department are typically considered to be some of the "best" options available at the store. According to Harris-Pincus, "Here is where you will discover the yogurt-based dressings that are much lower in calories and fat compared to the ones that are based on mayonnaise or oil." (4)

Avoid purchasing products with the adjective "creamy" written on the label because this typically suggests a greater total quantity of fat, most often in the form of saturated fats. (4)

And try to keep the list of ingredients as brief and straightforward as possible. "I study the ingredient list to ensure there aren't any artificial colors, additives, or preservatives," Martin adds. "I also ensure there aren't any difficult substances to pronounce." (4)

Because bottled dressings vary widely in the number of calories and substances they contain, it is essential to read the product label before making a purchase carefully. (4)

Also, you shouldn't automatically assume that a diet with fewer calories is better for you. According to Harris-Pincus, "Fat-free versions of these dressings are available; however, they do not taste fantastic and contain more sugar to make up for the missing fat." (4)

Or with full-fat varieties that are better for you because they have higher quality, contain less sugar, and have a beautiful creamy texture. Martin explains, "We'd like our salad dressing to have some heart-healthy fat. Eating fat foods can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) present in our salad's produce and proteins." (4)

In general, below are some guidelines. According to Martin, "I often advise clients to stick with dressings that contain no more than 150 calories per two-tablespoon serving" and "no more than 2 grams of sugar per serving." (4)

It is common for salad dressings to have a trace amount of sugar, which is acceptable; however, you should save the sugar for a salad topping, such as fresh fruit slices or dried fruit that has not been sweetened. "To put this into perspective, four grams of sugar are in one teaspoon. Accordingly, a maximum of half a teaspoon of sugar per serving of salad dressing (which usually consists of one to two tablespoons) is sufficient, "Martin also says. (4)

The following is a list of eight straightforward and nutritious salad dressings that may be made at home. (4)

Sesame ginger

This simple salad dressing can also be used as a marinade for roasted meats, poultry, and vegetables. It's also simple to put together things you probably already have in your kitchen. (5)


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly minced ginger


  1. Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar.
  2. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir together until combined.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 54
  • Protein: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 3.5 grams
  • Fat: 4.5 grams

Balsamic vinaigrette

Balsamic vinaigrette is one of the quickest and simplest homemade salad dressings to make because it only calls for five essential ingredients. It's one of the most versatile ingredients in the salad dressing arsenal because of its sweet and savory flavor. (5)


  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Combine the balsamic vinegar with the Dijon mustard and minced garlic.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to stir the mixture.
  3. Season with a bit of salt and pepper before serving to give the flavor a quick boost.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Fat: 18 grams

Avocado lime

This avocado lime dressing is creamy, cool, and refreshing and may be used as a salad dressing or a dip for raw vegetables. If you're looking to improve your HDL (good) cholesterol and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, avocados are a terrific option! (5)


  • 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (5 grams) cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt and pepper


  1. Add the avocado chunks to a food processor, Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and minced garlic.
  2. Top with a bit of salt and pepper, then pulse until the mixture reaches a smooth, thick consistency.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 7 grams

Lemon vinaigrette

Salads and vegetable meals benefit significantly from adding this tangy salad dressing. The tangy citrus flavor lends itself to simple salads that need a little more zing. (5)


  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) honey or maple syrup
  • salt and pepper


  1. Whisk the olive oil and fresh lemon juice together.
  2. Mix in honey or maple syrup for a bit of sweetness.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 128
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fat: 13.5 grams

Honey mustard

This creamy, homemade dressing makes adding a little sweetness to your favorite savory salads easy. Sweet potato fries, snacks, and fresh vegetables taste great with this dipping sauce. (5)


  • 1/3 cup (83 grams) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (102 grams) honey
  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Whisk the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey together.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to stir.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 142
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 13.5 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams

Greek yogurt ranch

The ranch is a versatile, creamy, and flavorful option among the most popular salad dressings on the market. Greek yogurt provides a healthy touch to this flavorful condiment in this at-home version. This version can be used as a dressing or a dipping sauce. (5)


  • 1 cup (285 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 grams) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.2 grams) onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 grams) dried dill
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of salt
  • fresh chives, chopped (optional)


  1. Stir together the Greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried dill.
  2. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and salt.
  3. Garnish with fresh chives before serving (optional).

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 29
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams

Apple cider vinaigrette

Leafy greens like kale or arugula can be overpowered by the harshness of a heavy dressing like a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar. You may get your daily dose of health-promoting apple cider vinegar by pouring this apple cider vinaigrette over your favorite salads. A few studies have demonstrated that apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar and lipid levels. (5)


  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) of honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


  1. Combine the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Add the Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 113
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Fat: 12 grams

Ginger turmeric

With the help of this ginger turmeric dressing, your meal will be a sight to behold. Bean salads, mixed greens, and veggie bowls benefit from their tangy flavor. In addition, it contains ginger and turmeric, which are linked to various health advantages. (5)

Ginger, for example, may help with nausea relief, muscle pain relief, and blood sugar regulation. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin, which is found in turmeric, have been extensively researched. (5)


  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) honey (optional)


  1. Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and ground ginger.
  2. To enhance the flavor, you can add a bit of honey for sweetness.

Nutrition facts:

The following nutrients are found in a 30-ml serving:

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams

The bottom line

Making your own healthy salad dressings is an easy task. All the sauces on this page are easy to make and use flavorful ingredients you probably already have on hand. Try these dressings in place of store-bought ones in your favorite salads, side dishes, and appetizers, and see how they turn out. (5)



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