Douse your greens in the wrong stuff and what was once a healthy lunch becomes a nutritional no-no. Just a quarter cup of ranch dressing, for instance, can add 340 calories and 36 grams of fat. Joan Salge Blake of the American Dietetic Association offers tips on picking a dressing that won’t derail your meal:
Aim for less than 100 calories per two-tablespoon serving, and try light versions rather than fat-free ones, which are often spiked with salt and sugar.
Look for dressings with heart-healthy fats such as olive or canola oil. Stick to ones with six to eight grams of fat per serving, and watch out for cheese, which hikes the saturated fat content.
If you’re worried about sodium, look for a brand with less than 140 mg per serving, or dilute it: For vinaigrettes, mix a tablespoon of dressing with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar; for creamy dressings, add a tablespoon of water.
Make your own healthy vinaigrette by whisking three parts olive oil into one part white, balsamic, or red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of no-salt seasoning (try a Cajun, Italian, or Southwest blend).