• Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020 1
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020 2
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020 3
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020 4
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020 5

Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy Online 2020

It’s like a candy apple. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but once you drizzle on the sugar and caramel, you will be going to the doctor’s. You started munching on those greens to cut down on fat and calories, but once you pair it with a bad salad dressing, you’ll be gaining, not losing, pounds.

How do you figure out if a salad dressing’s healthy? Look at the ingredients list, for one. How do you tell if the ingredients are healthy? See what kind of fats they contain. How do you see what fats they contain? Well–the questions are endless. So, below, we’ve broken everything down and introduced 10 of our favorite yummy, nutritious dressings.

This article's specialists

Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Healthy Salad Dressing – Buying Guide

The human body is a complicated piece of machinery. Nutrition theories, even credible ones, are constantly getting turned on their heads. And the advent of the internet, where anyone can post anything at any time, hasn’t helped matters much. We could barely separate truth from semi-truth from fiction, so asked the Web Dietitian to help us cut to the chase.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Sangeeta Pradhan is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. It's her job to delve into the complexities of nutrition, distill the information until it's something we lay folk can understand, and feed it back to us. It's her job, but it's also something she loves doing.

That's one of the reasons she started her blog, the Web Dietitian. It's a little corner of the internet where nutrition is presented plainly and frankly, with assertions that are backed by research and a simple desire to help. Expect lovely writing and apt metaphors, as well as some great recipes to round everything out.

How Much of Each Nutrient Should I Be Getting Per Serving?

First things first: look at the serving size. Let’s say that you pick up a bottle of dressing, and you see 100 calories splashed across the top of the label. Don’t get excited yet–this is amount per serving. If the serving size is only 1 tbsp. and you need to dump 4 tbsp. onto your salad before you’re satisfied, then you’re actually taking in 400 calories.
Some companies make serving size super small, so their stuff looks healthier. Don’t be misled. With salad dressings, for the most part, you need a minimum of 2 tbsp to feel any zest–so that’s the serving size that we and Sangeeta recommend (each of which should pack 100-120 calories).

The Culprit behind High Blood Pressure: Make Sure There’s Less than 250 mg of Sodium per Serving

The Culprit behind High Blood Pressure: Make Sure There’s Less than 250 mg of Sodium per Serving
So, what should you be avoiding? First on our list: sodium. You want less than 250 mg a serving. That’s because in a day, a healthy adult should be consuming (ideally!) 2,300 mg, according to The American Heart Association.
If you are part of at-risk populations–these include, but are not limited to folks over 50, African Americans, and people with hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease–the AHA lowers the cap to 1,500 mg (that means you should be shooting for about 200 mg per serving). And before you wave your hands and claim you’re fine, know that around half of the US population falls into this group.
Finally, if you live with children 15 or younger–or if you are one–sodium intake needs to be further limited relative to their energy requirements. But we wouldn’t stress out too much about doing calculations; basically, if your daughter eats half the amount of salad you do, she should also get half the amount of salad dressing.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
The consumption of processed foods continues to be on the rise. Canned soups, frozen entrees have staggering amounts of sodium, and many folks are unaware of this—nor are they aware of the implications. Many fast food menu items can provide greater than 50% of the sodium allowance per day, including some breakfast items. According to the AHA, more than 70% of the sodium we consume comes from packaged, prepared, and restaurant foods.

Basically, sodium makes your body hold on to water. As more blood flows though your blood vessels, blood pressure increases. You can get something called edema—water retention—and what that means is your heart, which is pumping blood throughout your body, now has a higher blood volume to contend with. So it has to work harder to pump that extra fluid, and if unchecked, it can lead to congestive heart failure.

Your heart’s a muscle, and you know what happens when you overwork a muscle—it gets larger, so you can end up with something called cardiomyopathy. So, overall, it is very important that we watch the sodium in our diet, even for the average consumer. The US Dietary guidelines advise limiting Na intake to 2300 mg/day for the average adult and 1500 mg/day to those with HTN (hypertension) and pre-HTN (pre-hypertension).

Avoid Saturated Fats and Emphasize Mostly Unsaturated Fats in Your Diet

Avoid Saturated Fats and Emphasize Mostly Unsaturated Fats in Your Diet
Avoid saturated fat as much as possible. It’s not poison–the American Heart Association says that around 16 g a day is just fine–but eat too much, and you’re left with high cholesterol and heart disease. That’s because saturated fat has got a super stable chemical structure. That’s how they stay solid at room temperature. That’s also why, when you consume them, they clog up your arteries.
You want, ideally, just 2-4 g of saturated fat per serving.
You also want to steer clear of trans fats. These crank up the amount of bad (LDL) cholesterol floating around in your blood and drive out the good stuff (HDL cholesterol). Trans fat has been linked to heart failure, diabetes, inflammation, and other chronic diseases.
There are, however, good fats–the unsaturated stuff–which come with a host of health benefits. You can find them in the oils of most plants. (More on this below!) So, even if you see that a serving packs 20 g of fat, don’t reshelve just yet. Look for healthy fats, stick with the suggested serving size, and try to stay within the recommended guidelines for total fat as noted below.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Here's the deal. The AMDR (acceptable macronutrient distribution range) supported by the Dietary Guidelines propose 20-35% of your total calories should come from fat, which is ~45-67 grams/day on a 2000 kcal diet .

You definitely want to avoid saturated fats and, of course, hydrogenated vegetable oils, also known as trans fats, which are slowly being phased out of the food supply as per FDA guidelines. But the key takeaway is this: you want to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, either mono- or polyunsaturated fats, and not refined carbohydrates.

From a historical perspective, fats got demonized in the 90s, and so food manufacturers started indiscriminately removing fat from many of their foods. But to compensate for the flavor, food manufacturers started adding added sugar (or salt, in some cases) to their products. The consumption of refined carbohydrates went up, and that was disastrous because then obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease rates, and so on started to go up as well.

So you want to make sure that there is a moderate amount of fat at every meal, and that includes some healthy fats in your salad dressing as well. Fat carries flavor; fat promotes satiety. You need fat, by the way, for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. All kinds of hormones are made from fat. You absolutely need it as part of a healthy diet.

I would suggest limiting saturated fat intake to 1.5-2 grams per serving, while watching the actual number of servings as well. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat intake to ~10% a day, while the AHA recommends even lower intakes of 7% a day and 5-6% of total calories—or 11-13 grams—per day on a 2000 kcal diet for people who need to lower their cholesterol.

What Kind of Oils Do We Want in Our Dressings?

Oil’s the number one ingredient in most salad dressings. But there’s so many different types, from so many different fruits, vegetables, and seeds–and they’re processed in so many different ways. So let’s talk about a few key terms that will hopefully help you make head and tails of everything.

You Want Non-Hydrogenated Oils Rich in Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat

You Want Non-Hydrogenated Oils Rich in Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat
When you hydrogenate a liquid fat, you turn it into a solid fat–by adding hydrogen. This keeps the oil from going rancid quickly, but it also unfortunately produces trans fats, which you know by now are not good. When reading the ingredients label, make sure there is no partially or fully hydrogenated oil. Steer clear of shortening as well, which is made from partially hydrogenated oil.
Instead, look for liquid oils, which are brimming with healthy (unsaturated) fats. They do just the opposite of hydrogenated oils–that is, they lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. But here’s where it gets confusing. There’s a lot of theories being thrown apart about nutritional differences between monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fats.
But here’s what Sangeeta wants you to know–you need both as part of a healthy diet. As long as you are consuming salad dressing in moderation (sticking to the 2 tbsp. rule!) and all the oils are liquid, you will be taking in a healthy amount of fat, be they mono or poly. Most plant-based oils are full of unsaturated fat, so look out for nut, avocado, peanut, sesame, and olive oil.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
There’s definitely a case to be made for including both MUFAs and PUFAs—i.e. omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—in your diet. There is some evidence linking diets containing MUFAs with favorable changes in weight and body composition in women with obesity. In addition, MUFAs have been linked to reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raising HDL cholesterol levels. And they’re found in nuts, seeds, olive, and avocado oil.

But I haven’t seen studies to support whether monos are better or superior than polys, per se. I would simply say because the research keeps going back and forth like a pendulum, we want to proceed with a common-sense approach. And that would be to just replace those solid fats with liquid oils, be they mono or poly, or to replace them with whole plant fats, such as the fats found in nuts, seeds, and avocados.

And we don’t want to just keep focusing on the fatty acids in the diet because, ultimately, it’s not isolated nutrients that matter. It’s whole foods and whole dietary patterns that count. So, every so often, I think we just need to take a step back and look at the big picture so that we don’t miss the forest for the trees.

Got Vegetable or Nut Oils? Look for “Expeller Pressed” or “Extra Virgin”

Got Vegetable or Nut Oils? Look for “Expeller Pressed” or “Extra Virgin”
Many oils are drawn out chemically using hexane, which is toxic. It’s heated out later, of course, but we aren’t sure how much is left over. And the heating process changes the make up and flavor profile of the oil. You may lose some nutrients. In a nutshell, you’re left with less high-quality, less healthy stuff. If the bottle doesn’t tell you how an oil was harvested, assume it was chemically processed.
Then you’ve got expeller pressed oils. Here, the fruits or nuts were stuck into a giant machine, which literally squeezed the oil right out of them. But you need a lot of pressure to wring oil from a peanut. So expeller pressing, while better than chemical processing, still generates a lot of heat.
In Europe, cold-pressed oils are oils that haven’t been exposed to any temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (So no chemical reactions, no flavor changes.) In the States, however, we don’t regulate this stuff as strictly. But, long story short, if you want the healthiest stuff possible, look for “expeller pressed” or “cold pressed” oils in the ingredients list.
The “extra virgin” you see before olive oils, by the way, also refers to the extraction process. In a nutshell, “extra virgin” is the purest stuff. It’s got the strongest flavor and keeps the most nutrients (and health benefits!).
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Hexane is questionable. It has been classified as an air pollutant and could adversely affect the nervous system according to the Center for Disease Control. However, the whole process where you use a chemical solvent such as hexane to refine the oil is not supposed to leave a lot of residue, so itʼs unclear whether consuming the trace residue long-term is truly a health hazard. Perhaps more studies that also explore dose-dependent effects may be in order.

Obviously an oil that is minimally processed to some extent would be preferred, but the problem with extra virgin olive oil is that its smoke point is really low. So for sautéing, you may want to use the lighter, yellow olive oil which has a higher smoke point, and use the dark green, extra virgin only for cold preparations such as dips and salad dressings.

In addition, when you buy olive oil at the grocery store, get the one thatʼs at the back of the shelf that hasn’t been exposed to light, keep it in a dark place, away from heat, and make sure itʼs tightly capped. Oxygen, light, and heat can cause oils to spoil quickly.

What the Ingredients List Should Look Like: Short and Easy to Pronounce

What the Ingredients List Should Look Like: Short and Easy to Pronounce
Short ingredients lists are good. You want them to start off with any of the oils from up above, water, or vinegar, followed by a bunch of seasonings that sound like they were plucked out of an Italian kitchen. Nothing chemical that you can’t read.
You also want, of course, no high fructose corn syrup. In excess amounts, high fructose corn syrup is stored preferentially as fat in the liver, leading to fatty liver and insulin resistance.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
If you’re having two tablespoons of salad dressing with some artificial ingredients once in two
weeks, but if the rest of your diet consists of whole and unprocessed foods, that would be considered a negligible amount. But if your diet is predominantly high in processed foods, and in addition, you are choosing salad dressings with artificial ingredients, you may want to re-consider.

A general rule of thumb is to try to eat foods that are as close to their original source as possible. We want to bear in mind that industrial processing is relatively new—perhaps 100-150 years old at best. Before that, our ancestors pulled food out of the ground and from trees.

While our modern, fast paced lifestyles would certainly not allow us to slave over a hot stove all day long, there is a strong case that one can make for consuming foods that are whole and minimally processed to optimize one’s nutrient intake.

Sweet, Savory, Zesty, or All of the Above: Make Sure the Dressing Complements Your Salad

Sweet, Savory, Zesty, or All of the Above: Make Sure the Dressing Complements Your Salad
A good dish is like a marriage, right? All the flavors, the ingredients, and the textures have got to be compatible. So make sure your dressing pairs well with your favorite kind of salad. Of course, a lot of this is up to preference, but here are some of our favorite blends.
All-green salads and seafood are refreshing with a slightly sour vinaigrette or a dash of Italian. Lean protein goes well with something a little creamy or cheesy (ranch or Caesar.) That chicken, ham, or tuna salad would appreciate something sweet–maybe fruit-based, or honey mustard.
Greek dressing is light, so it’ll enhance the flavor of fresh ingredients (cucumbers and tomatoes), without detracting from stronger personalities (like that of onions and cheeses). Sangeeta makes her salad dressings from scratch, by the way, but you can still draw inspiration from her creations when you throw together your next salad and are looking for a new dressing to try.
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
Web Dietitian
Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE
I love to add fresh, succulent fruits to my salads to make them pop with flavor and give them a
refreshing twist. So you might notice that I use freshly squeezed orange juice or strawberry puree as the acid in salad dressing to give it a tangy flavor. And sometimes, I use honey to give it a naturally sweet flavor.

I actually like to add fresh fruit to my salads as well. Thus, I might throw in some pomegranate, strawberries, blueberries, or peaches to a regular garden salad just to give it a slightly unexpected twist. In addition, it also adds a very important nutrient—Vitamin C, an antioxidant, not to mention other phytonutrients.

Top 10 Best Healthy Salad Dressing to Buy Online

Now, it’s time to introduce our picks for the 10 best healthy salad dressings to buy online. We picked these salad dressings out based on the guidelines that Sangeeta helped us establish above, but we want to make it clear that the Web Dietitian does not endorse any brands or products, and the dressings below were determined by the team here at mybest.
She would also like readers to note that any info she has provided in this article is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or Registered Dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

10. Mantova Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil Variety Pack: Garlic, Basic, Chili Lemon


9. Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette with Avocado Oil


8. Annie’s Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing


7. Annie’s Organic Vegan French Dressing


6. Skinnygirl Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


5. Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Ranch


4. Tessemae’s All Natural 4-Pack Salad Dressing (Lemon Garlic)


3. Drew’s Classic Italian Vinaigrette Dressing (Pack of 6)


2. Baja Precious Infused Balsamic Quartetto – Raspberry, Blackberry, Green Apple & Mango


1. Bragg Organic Vinaigrette Dressing



Pick the right dressing, and it might just end up making your salad healthier (not just fattier). And, actually, some vitamins are fat-soluble and can’t be absorbed without some elbow grease. Just make sure that the grease is coming from good stuff, like extra virgin olive oil or expeller pressed canola oil.
Do that much, and you can throw off some of the guilt that surrounds drowning your salad in dressing. Happy eating!

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