What to Look for in Store-Bought Salad Dressing

You might even find a new favorite.

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The key to quick salad prep is having a great dressing right on your fridge door. But which bottled options are most worthy of your kale-avocado creations?

Keep It Simple

Oil, vinegar, spices — these are the real-food ingredients you know well and want to see leading the list. Some dressings may also contain small amounts of preservatives, like xanthan gum, which are fine. What to avoid: artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners; corn syrup; and partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats).

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Know Your Numbers

Try to stay under 150 calories and at around 200 mg of sodium per serving, which is usually a 2-tablespoon pour. And keep checks on sugar — 5 grams, tops.

Don't Be Fat-Phobic

Fat's a good thing: It can help you absorb a salad's vitamins and feel fuller. No-fat versions may be lower in cals, but they often crank up sugar and salt.

Check Your Oil

Cheer when you find olive oil — it's a great source of heart-healthy fat. Canola is another smart choice.

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5 Taste Test Winners

1. Annie's Naturals: Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Fewer cals and less sugar and sodium compared with many. (And no corn syrup!)

40 cal, 3 g sugar, 125 mg sodium per serving (annies.com)

2. Cindy's Kitchen: Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

The produce-aisle pick stars an olive- and canola-oil blend and a snappy mix of herbs.

100 cal, 0 g sugar, 220 mg sodium per serving (cindyskitchen.com)

3. Newman's Own: Lite Italian

A great option findable at almost any grocer.We like the olive oil plus red wine vinegar — and the zero added sugar.

60 cal, 0 g sugar, 260 mg sodium per serving (newmansown.com)

4. Bragg: Organic Vinaigrette

Sharp and lively, this dressing teams Bragg's signature apple cider vinegar with extra-virgin olive oil and just enough garlic.

90 cal, 2 g sugar, 60 mg sodium per serving (bragg.com)

5. Tessemae's All Natural: Soy Ginger

Asian flavor shines in this no-fake-stuff brand, so you can use less (its serving size is 1 tablespoon).

100 cal, 0 g sugar, 125 mg sodium per serving (tessemaes.com)

This story originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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