If you don’t use a healthy salad dressing, your salad could contain as much fat and calories as a bacon cheeseburger. Mayonnaise-based salad dressings can stifle your weight loss efforts with empty calories and saturated fat. Just two tablespoons of the average Ranch or Thousand Island dressing contains approximately 14 grams of fat, and 5 of those grams are saturated fat. Saturated fat is known to cause obesity and heart disease. You can still have a great tasting salad that is also nutritious. Here are 4 healthy salad dressing options that won’t ruin your diet.
1. Oil and Vinegar
Oil and vinegar is an easy and healthy salad dressing option. Try to use more vinegar than oil. The best combination is usually a balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Balsamic vinegar is flavorful and olive oil has tremendous health benefits when used in moderation. Olive oil can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol), which will make your heart healthier. Olive oil is also healthy for your skin and hair. Aim for two tablespoons of olive oil on your salad. Use as much vinegar as you like.
2. Yogurt-Based Salad Dressing
It might sound strange, but you can use plain yogurt as a salad dressing base. Using yogurt instead of mayonnaise as a base for your salad dressing is a healthy alternative to traditional salad dressings. Try blending the plain yogurt with Dijon mustard and cilantro or chives. You will still get that creamy consistency, but without all of the saturated fat. For an even healthier salad dressing, use fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt.
3. Cottage Cheese and Dill
Cottage cheese and dill is a flavorful and healthy salad dressing combination. Mix 1/2 cup to ¾ cup of cottage cheese and freshly chopped dill. Add salt and pepper to taste. Try to find a low-fat cottage cheese with less than five grams of fat per serving. Cottage cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. It will help you feel full and satisfied.
4. Avocado Salad Dressing
Don’t be afraid of the fat in avocados. A little bit of polyunsaturated fat won’t ruin your diet. In fact, when you eat “good fat” such as the polyunsaturated fat found in avocados, you will be less likely to binge later. Moderate amounts of unsaturated fats are good for your heart and skin. Avocados also taste great. To make this healthy salad dressing option, mix the "meat" of one or two avocados with crushed garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt.
Finding a healthy salad dressing option that still tastes good can be difficult. The aforementioned salad dressing options taste great. For more variety, add your own variations on the suggested herbs. After trying a couple of these healthy salad dressing options, you won’t even miss Ranch dressing. With any salad dressing, instead of pouring it on your salad, try dipping your fork in the dressing and then taking a bite of the salad. This way you save even more fat and calories.