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Is Your Salad Making You Fat?

With a little help from Calorie Count and My Fitness Pal, we calculated the calorie content of the most popular salad dressings.

Did you ever find yourself saying, “I’m on a diet, so I’ll just have a salad?” Choosing a hefty bowl of greens as your meal replacement or having a garden salad instead of fries as your side dish isn’t a surefire way to lose weight, CGs! Yes, salads are part of the healthy greens list, but there’s one major culprit that could make or break your salad—the dressing. Some dressings are so fatty that you’re better off eating a burger. Add the extravagant layers of toppings and double the standard portion, and you have the recipe for weight gain!

Unhealthiest Dressings

1. Coleslaw

Kraft: 140 calories per 2 tbsp., 180mg sodium, 6g fat

KFC: 170 calories per side dish, 170mg sodium, 10g fat

Homemade: approx. 172 calories per ½ cup, 265mg sodium, 10.1g fat

2. Thousand Island

Kraft: 120 calories per 2 tbsp., 310mg sodium, 10g fat

Clara Ole: 140 calories per 2 tbsp., 150mg sodium, 13g fat

Wendy’s: 130 calories per packet, 250mg sodium, 12g fat

Homemade: approx. 118 calories per 2 tbsp., 138mg sodium, 5.6g fat

3. Caesar

Kraft: 80 calories per 2 tbsp., 270mg sodium, 8g fat

Heinz: 134 calories per 30 g, 0.2mg sodium, 13.4g fat

Clara Ole: 190 calories per 40g, 90mg of sodium, 9g fat

Homemade: approx. 160 calories per 2 tbsp., 177.7mg of sodium, 8.5g fat

4. Ranch

Kraft: 110 calories per 2 tbsp., 260mg sodium, 11g fat

Clare Ole: 130 calories per 30 g, 300mg sodium, 11g fat

Homemade: approx. 94 calories per 2 tbsp.

5. Honey Mustard

Kraft: 90 calories per 2 tbsp., 270mg sodium, 6g fat

Clara Ole: 135.5 calories per 30 g, 3mg sodium, 5.4g fat

Subway: 60 calories per 43g, 240mg sodium, 1g fat

Homemade: approx. 68 calories per 2 tbsp., 0 sodium, 28g fat

Healthiest Dressings

1. Oriental

Kraft (Asian Sesame): 80 calories per 2 tbsp., 320 mg sodium, 6g fat

Clara Ole (Asian): 90 calories per 56g, 0 sodium, 6g fat

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Homemade: approx. 45 calories per tbsp., 140mg sodium, 3.7g fat

2. Italian

Wishbone (Raspberry or Classic) 80 calories per 2 tbsp., 340mg sodium, 7g fat

Kraft (House Italian): 50 calories per 2 tbsp., 130mg sodium, 5g fat

Homemade: approx. 61 calories per 2 tbsp., 72.7mg sodium, 6.9g fat

3. Vinaigrette

Kraft: 60 calories per tbsp., 150mg sodium, 9g fat

Wishbone (Greek Vinaigrette): 60 calories per 2 tbsp., 290mg sodium, 5g fat

Homemade: approx. 50 calories per 2 tbsp., 322mg sodium, 5g fat

4. Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kraft (Light Balsamic Vinaigrette): 30 calories per 2 tbsp., 210mg sodium, 1g fat

Wishbone: 60 calories per 2 tbsp., 280mg sodium, 5g fat

Homemade: approx. 60 calories per 2 tbsp., 1.3mg sodium, 6.1g fat

How to keep your salads healthy:

1. Consume not more than two tablespoons, the standard serving portion per bowl of salad. Drenching your salad in a cup of dressing just nullifies the healthiness of your meal.

2. When ordering at restaurants, ask for your dressing on the side. This way you can control how much you drizzle on your salad.

3. Stay away from fatty toppings, such as fried croutons, fried chicken strips, crispy noodles, and cheese. Opt for healthier mix-ins such as grilled chicken, tuna, sliced vegetables, and fresh fruit.

4. Make your own salad, from the ones you serve at home to the baon you take to school or work. It not only saves you money, but also allows you to control the ingredients and portion.

5. Download fitness apps to help you decipher if the bottle of salad dressing you’re about to purchase from the grocery is as healthy as it seems. Calorie counting apps such as My Fitness Pal also tells you the approximate calorie content of popular restaurant dishes.

6. Read the labels of store-bought dressings. “Light” and “fat-free” don’t always mean healthy. Avoid brands that have high levels of sodium, sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup.

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