Sneaky Sodium in Salad Dressings

Erika Kertz, Baptist Dietetic Intern

Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD

Edited by Andi Champion, CHEF

A good dressing can help take a salad from boring to delicious! Homemade versions can be loaded with nutrients, heart-healthy fats, and tasty herbs to help add flavor without the extra sodium. Unfortunately, when you purchase a pre-made dressing from the store, you don’t always get the same health benefits. Like many pre-packaged foods, store-bought salad dressings can be loaded with extra sodium and hidden sugar.. Including too much sodium in your diet can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Next time you’re craving a salad, skip the pre-made version and try making your own at home. It’s much easier than you may think and you likely already have some of the ingredients in your kitchen. You can start with an acid such as apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice. Then add some heart-healthy olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices. You can even add minced garlic or dijon mustard for even more flavor!

Some of our favorite salad dressings are Ranchy Dip and our Italian Dressing. Ranchy Dip is a better-for-you take on traditional Ranch dressing. It’s lower in sodium than store-bought Ranch and contains more protein and herbs for flavor. This kid-friendly dressing is also a great way to encourage your children to eat more vegetables. Just like regular Ranch dressing, Ranchy Dip  can be served as a dip with raw vegetables.

Our Italian Dressing is lighter option for a salad and packs tons of flavor. It can also double as a marinade for your favorite lean protein such as chicken or pork. Store any leftovers in a mason jar in your pantry for next time.

Now that you know how easy is it to make salad dressings at home, you can include the entire family in the process. Play around with ingredients and explore different flavor combinations. By making nutritious, wholesome dressings you can enjoy vegetables without the added sodium.