It might seem tedious to make your own salad dressing, but it’s not as hard as you think. Once you know the basics, it can actually be a really creative experience to make your own salad dressing. Homemade salad dressing allows you to control the ingredients in your favorite salads. You’ll also avoid a ton of gross and nasty components that are common in salad dressings—even ‘light’ and ‘low-fat’ varieties. If you’re still not convinced, consider these seven fantastic benefits of homemade salad dressings.
1. Fewer Calories
Did you know that a mere two tablespoons of regular ranch dressing can have as much as 210 calories? Making your own versions of otherwise fattening salad dressings is a resourceful alternative to bottled dressings that pack a ton of calories in a tiny portion. Make your own salad dressing with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and you’ll instantly save loads of calories with a much healthier ranch dressing recipe. It will taste just as great and chances are you won’t even realize it’s homemade!
2. No Added Sugar
Bottled salad dressings are one of the top places where food companies hide added sugar and other sweeteners. In fact, these salad dressings can have several teaspoons of sugar in a mere few tablespoons. Surely you’ve heard how refined sugar can contribute to many health problems, such as diabetes and obesity. Making your own salad dressing allows you to control the sugar levels of this condiment, keeping you at a healthy weight and improving your overall health.
3. No Refined Oils
If you look at the ingredient list of most conventional salad dressings, you’ll notice soybean, canola, or some other kind of vegetable oil is listed as one of the first ingredients. Cheap and easy to manufacture, refined oils are actually pretty bad for your health. The high temperature used to create these unnatural oils makes them loaded with free radicals, which can lead to DNA damage and premature aging. I’ve noticed that even organic brands of salad dressing still contain refined oils. Olive oil, sesame oil, and avocado oil are some great alternatives to refined oils. Use them next time you make your own salad dressing!
4. Lower Sodium Levels
Do you enjoy topping your salad with that quintessential Asian sesame dressing found at many Asian restaurants and sushi bars? You might scream with joy when you find the bottled version of it at the grocery store, but don’t pick up that bottle without first reading the nutritional label! Many salad dressings can easily pack over 400 milligrams of sodium in one simple serving. Ditch the added salt and create your own Asian salad dressing. There are ton of recipes you can find online for that perfect blend of tang and citrus!
5. All Natural Ingredients and Flavors
When I first started scrutinizing salad dressings, I read the nutritional labels and ingredients lists of these products religiously. After a while, I noticed that many of these products—even products listed as ‘all natural’ or ‘organic’—often contained obscure additives and chemicals that I knew didn’t belong in my body. By creating your own salad dressings, you have the ability to get rid of a ton of chemicals, additives, and other artificial ingredients that shouldn’t be in your food. Instead of using salt or sugar to flavor your dressing, you can now use real ingredients like lemon, lime, herbs, and different kinds of oil to create a unique salad dressing everyone will love!
6. Less Money
If you’re looking for a way to cut down on your grocery bills and other expenses, consider the cost of the processed foods you buy. Salad dressing can definitely be included on this list, and making your own salad dressing is a great way to save money. You can easily make double or triple the amount of dressing for the cost of purchasing one bottle. It might be a little more work at first, but making your own dressing will absolutely save you money!
7. Better Taste
Although you might have grown accustomed to your favorite brand of Italian dressing, once you start making your own dressings you’ll never go back! Homemade dressings have a much better flavor profile than anything you buy in a bottle or jar. Now that I make my own salad dressings, conventional dressings taste so gross to me. If you want a dressing that can take your salad from good to great, consider making your own salad dressings. You’ll love the improved taste and how much better they are for your health.
Between the improved taste and better nutritional profile, homemade salad dressings are the way to go. Remember that you don’t need to make homemade salad dressing every time you eat salad. Most recipes will easily keep in the fridge for up to a week. What are some of your favorite salad dressing combinations?