You’ve probably heard it before. There’s a lot of salad dressings out there that can sabotage an attempt to eat healthy. But there’s more to label reading that a quick scan for fat and calories. Ever wonder what kind of additives, food dyes, and added sugars you’re putting on your greens? Here’s a few pointers to help you pick the best salad dressing for you.

Added sugar

If you’re trying to cut down on added sugars and sweeteners, look for a dressing that has fewer than 3 grams of sugar. Also know that if a salad dressing is labeled organic, it won’t contain any high fructose corn syrup.


Salad dressings are notorious for having sodium, with some having 300 mg or more per serving. If you’re watching your sodium intake, then look for one that has less than 200 mg per serving.

Food coloring

If you’re concerned about food dye, check the ingredient list. Some salad dressings use synthetic food coloring, like yellow 6 or red 40; others use natural colorings, like berries or turmeric, for example.


Believe it or not, you want a dressing with a little bit of fat to help you better absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Trans fat and saturated fat, however, should be avoided.

Overall calories

If your goal is weight loss, be mindful of calorie-dense dressings. Many regular dressings have more than 100 calories per serving. For lighter options, look for yogurt-based dressings or vinaigrettes.

So, after all that, what’s left on the shelf? You’d be surprised. Bolthouse Farms Organic Avocado Ranch, Walden Farms dressings and more are among the dressings that fit the bill. Of course, you can always ask your Hy-Vee registered dietitian for recipes and recommendations as well.

Chili lime chicken tacos

Makes four servings


• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts

• 1/2 cup Bolthouse Farms Cucumber Ranch dressing, plus more for serving

• 2 tablespoons lime juice

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 12 corn tortillas, warmed

• 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage

• 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced

• Chopped cilantro


1. In a zip-top bag combine chicken, dressing, lime juice, and chili powder, turning to coat chicken pieces in dressing. Place bag in a bowl and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking dish or baking sheet.

3. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Place on baking sheet or in baking dish and bake until cooked through or internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, about 18-22 minutes. Let cool slightly, then thinly slice.

4. Serve chicken on tortillas topped with cabbage, avocado, and cilantro, and drizzle with more dressing.

Nutrition facts per serving: 250 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g sugar, 19g protein