Salad dressings are the simplest way to get healthy fats into your family
Are you trying to get more healthy fats into your family’s diet? It is SO important that you do. It supports good growth for your kids, support for the health of your brain – which affects mental health- as well as prevention of disease. Healthy salad dressings are such an easy way to get those fats into your family! Want to learn more about which fats are healthy and which are not? Read all about it in this article:
One of the easiest ways to get healthy fats into your family’s diet is with salad dressing. There are many different types of salad dressings. You can buy it at the store or make it at home. This article will cover both – which salad dressings to buy it at the store, and how to make healthy (and delicious) salad dressing at home.
Would you rather watch a video than read? Here is a link to the video I did on the topic:
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Let’s talk about store-bought salad dressings
First, let’s talk about the most popular salad dressings. Spoiler alert: they are terrible for you and your family. They are full of unhealthy fats, and many also have lots of added sugar and artificial ingredients.
You want to avoid any salad dressings that contain unhealthy oils. These include corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil. These oils are highly processed and do not exist in nature. They cause damage in your blood vessels and cells and increase inflammation in the body.
The most popular salad dressing brands in the US include Kraft, Hidden Valley Ranch, Wish Bone, Marzetti’s, Ken’s Steakhouse, Lite House, Girard’s, and Marie’s. ALL OF THEM have soybean and/or canola oil as the main source of fat. Many of the varieties are also very high in sugar and have other icky additives. Please don’t feed these to your family!
Even many of the salad dressings that have been marketed as “healthier” are NOT – they still are primarily soybean oil or canola oil. These include Newman’s Own, Whole Foods 365, Brianna’s, Annie’s Naturals, and Spectrum Organics. So disappointing.
And don’t think you are solving the problem by buying fat-free dressings! Many of these are very high in sugar including high-fructose corn syrup. Some even include artificial colors which are terrible for kids (and everyone).
Which are the healthiest store-bought salad dressings?
Don’t worry! While it is difficult to find healthy store-bought salad dressings, they do exist! Here are some brands I recommend:
Sir Kensington’s is an awesome company and a great source of a variety of condiments. All Sir Kensington’s condiments and dressings are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, soy-free, paleo-friendly, and kosher. Sir Kensington’s never uses any artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives. Their salad dressings are yummy! The healthiest choices are the ones made out of avocado oil:
Primal Kitchen is known for it’s paleo-friendly and Whole-30 compliant processed foods. They make salad dressings and condiments as well as nutritional supplements such as collagen. Their salad dressings are avocado-based and are tasty, but I’ll warn you – the vinaigrette-style flavors are rather strong. You might want to try diluting them with a bit of plain olive oil or avocado oil.
Okay, if you want to purchase your salad dressing, you now have all you need to know. Store-bought salad dressing is the easiest option. But it’s also expensive to buy the healthier brands. So let’s talk homemade!
The easiest salad dressing in the world
So, you want something easy? It can be very easy to dress a salad. I eat salad almost every day, and my go-to dressing is this: Lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. Easy peasy. Here’s the recipe:
- Make a salad
- Sprinkle a little lemon juice on it, either from a fresh lemon or from a bottle
- Pour a nice splash of olive oil on it
- Sprinkle on salt and pepper
- Eat it!
If you are like me and you like to just throw ingredients together, give it a try. It’s also delicious with balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon juice. Follow the same “recipe.”
Does this make you a bit nervous? Would you rather follow an actual recipe? No problem! I’ve got an answer for that, too! And it’s not hard, either. Man, are you gonna save a lot of money on salad dressing!
Get yourself some quality ingredients:
Basic Salad Dressing Recipe
Easy, Healthy, Family-Friendly Salad Dressing
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic optional
- 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard optional
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper optional
- Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, mustard (if using), salt, and pepper.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in olive oil.
- Add to salad and enjoy!
I listed garlic, mustard, and pepper as optional ingredients because I know what it’s like to cook for picky kids. You can always start simple and add more flavor later once they are used to the basic dressing.
This dressing works great to put on your salad immediately, or you can store it in the fridge for a few days. I like to use a mason jar or reuse a jar that previously held mustard or the like. When you want to use it again, you will notice that the oil has solidified in the refrigerator. Take it out of the fridge as you prepare your meal so that it can come to room temperature again. Then just shake it to remix the ingredients.
Want more ideas? There are lots of great cookbooks out there written by chefs with my favorite philosophy: make food simple, seasonal, nutritious and delicious!
Jamie Oliver is a fantastic chef and teacher. Several of my favorite cookbooks that include delicious salad dressing recipes are written by him:
And there is his brand new one that focuses just on veggies:
More great sources for good salad dressing recipes:
Jamie Oliver also has a website that’s a great resource: jamieshomecookingskills.com
Rachael Ray is one of my favorite chefs because she’s so down-to-earth and relatable. This is her low-carb cookbook and it has a huge salad section:
Hack your store-bought salad
It’s super easy and fast to buy a ready-made salad at the grocery store. That’s great because you want to make it easy to feed veggies to your family…but the salad dressings included in these packages are usually garbage for you and deserve to be thrown in the…garbage.
But it’s okay! Go ahead and buy the salad, trash the dressing, and make your own salad dressing or use one of the store-bought ones I recommended above. Here is an example:
Costco Organic Sweet Kale Salad
This is a popular salad for busy families. It contains kale, other greens, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries. And garbage salad dressing. Throw that out and make your own! Use my basic salad dressing above, or try this if you want it to taste more like the one that came in the packet:
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. mustard (I used dijon mustard)
- 1 1/2 tsp. honey (agave would also be good)
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix it up and put it on the salad! It would also be fantastic to add some chopped apples to this salad.
Let me know if you like this type of recipe in the comments below…I’d be happy to hack some more salads for you! Enjoy! And please pin and share.
Love salads? Need more ideas for how to feed them to picky eaters? Check out my recipe: Simple Caprese Salad 3 Ways