The Best & Worst Salad Dressings For Your Waistline

When you want to eat healthy, choosing a salad is usually a good idea. They're usually low in calories and fat and filled with nutritious greens and goodies. However, your healthy meal takes a turn for the worst when you add dressings. You could combat it by ordering the dressing on the side or trying to pick out the lowest-calorie dressings in the supermarket, but we have an easier solution. We've compiled a list of the best, the worst and the dressings in between so you can easier navigate your healthy meals.


1. Ranch: We all love ranch. In fact, you probably put it on more than just salad — but it's time to rethink your usage, because ranch can easily have over 140 calories per serving! Like most creamy dressings, a lot of those calories are coming from unhealthy fats. If you're really craving a ranch flavor, try making your own with this light ranch recipe shown below for only 52 calories and 2 grams fat.

2. Thousand Island: This dressing is made with a mayo base, which you will rarely see included in any diet. A two-tablespoon serving of this dressing will be over 100 calories. And in most cases, you'll use wind up using more than just 2 tablespoons, so you're adding unneeded calories when you choose Thousand Island.

3. Bleu Cheese: Like most creamy dressing, bleu cheese can be pretty high in calories. If you're in it for the cheese, try crumbling reduced-fat bleu cheese onto your salad and opting for one of the lower-calorie dressing listed below. We like to make our own light version with Greek yogurt; check it out here!

light bleu cheese dressing

4. French Dressing: It depends on the brand, but French dressings are often even higher in calories than ranch! We recommend skipping this dressing or using it very sparingly.


5. Italian: Italian dressing can be a bit high in calories (often close to 100) so be careful which brand you choose. The sodium levels can get up there as well. We love the flavor of Italian dressing (and it makes a great marinade), so be cautious of how much you use. We recommend using a low-fat option!

6. Balsamic Vinaigrette: A balsamic vinaigrette isn't a bad choice, but it if you aren't careful, you may be taking in more calories than you'd like with a store-bought dressing. If you grab a light or low-fat option, then you'll be smooth sailing! For a great light balsamic vinaigrette dressing, try this DIY recipe.


7. Oil and Vinegar: You can make your own tasty combo with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. It's a great way to know exactly what you are putting into your salad. Just be sure you're using heathy portions in your recipe!


8. Raspberry Vinaigrette: This is a flavorful dressing that will have your salad tasting like summer. Its bold flavor means you won't need to use a ton; a little goes a long way with this salad dressing! But most of all, we love it for its low calorie and sodium counts. For another fruity option, try our Strawberry Poppyseed dressing, ringing in at 51 calories.

panera chicken strawberry recipe

9. Roasted Red Pepper: This red pepper dressing is a flavorful and skinny way that won't kill your salad calorie-wise. Just double check that nutrition label, because calories vary between brands.

10. Light and Low-Fat: A lightened up version of most dressings will bring the calorie count to 50 or below. If you've got a favorite dressing, try doing some research on low-fat versions. From sesame ginger to ranch, you can usually find a healthy alternative.


If you find yourself faced with an unhealthy dressing, have it served on the side. Then dip your fork into the dressing before stabbing your salad. It's a helpful way to portion control and will help you to see how little dressing you really need with each bite!

For more healthy dressings that you'll love, click here.