Best Low-Cal Salad Dressings, and New Veggie Chip 411!

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Dear HG,

I love salads, but many of the low-calorie dressings I've tried taste really diet-y. Which are the best-tasting low-cal salad dressings out there?

Dress-Me-Up Angie

Hi Angie,

With all the salad dressings lining the shelves (there are TONS of them), it can be tough to figure out which are worthy of your greens (both dollars and lettuce!). Here at the HG HQ, we've sampled plenty of dressings over the years, and we definitely have some favorites. Check 'em out...

Bonkers for Balsamic. Maple Grove Farms has some of the best balsamic dressings out there, and they are SUPER impressive in the stats department. I especially like the Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette (2 tbsp. = 15 calories, PointsPlus® value 0*) and the Fat Free Cranberry Balsamic (2 tbsp. = 30 calories, PointsPlus® value 1*). There are All Natural options too. Also great? Lucero's line of flavored balsamic vinegars. INCREDIBLE! Each 1-tbsp. serving of the flavor-packed fruity vinegar has 25 calories (PointsPlus® value 1*), and a little really does go a long way. Worth ordering online. (Try the sampler packs!)

Spray What? Guilty of accidentally dumping half the bottle of dressing over your greens? (Don't pretend like you haven't done it!) Save yourself from a calorie catastrophe with spray bottles of salad dressing. I love the Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers line. A 10-spray serving has just 10 - 15 calories and 1g fat (PointsPlus® value 0*), which means that even the most trigger-happy salad dressers won't overdo it on the calorie consumption. Sadly, these were JUST discontinued, so DIY with a spray bottle and one of the low-cal dressings mentioned here. Just choose something with a thin consistency.

Creams the Competition! If you crave creamy salad dressings without excessive amounts of fat, the Bolthouse Farms crew has some excellent options for you. The secret? Yogurt! (Okay, it's not so secret. It says so right on the bottle.) The Caesar Parmigiano, in particular, tastes insanely delicious and has only 45 calories and 2.5g fat per 2-tbsp. serving (PointsPlus® value 1*). The Chunky Blue Cheese flavor is one of the best low-fat blue cheese dressings EVER, and it has just 35 calories and 2.5g fat per 2-tbsp. serving (PointsPlus® value 1*).

The Seasoned and the Citrusy. Seasoned rice vinegar is a versatile little pick that works great on salad greens. My favorites are Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegars. A tablespoon has only 15 - 20 fat-free calories (PointsPlus® value 0 - 1*), and flavors range from Roasted Garlic to Citrus. Speaking of citrus, check out Litehouse Tangy Orange Citrus Dressing, Sauce & Marinade. A 2-tbsp. serving of the multipurpose product has 60 calories and no fat (PointsPlus® value 2*), and it's crazy flavorful in the best possible way. Sweet!

All-Star Salad Topper! The man. The legend. The dressing. Newman's Own Lite Low Fat Sesame Ginger dressing is an absolute HG staple. It's the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, and the taste just CANNOT be beat. Plus, a 2-tbsp. serving has only 35 calories and 1.5g fat (PointsPlus® value 1*). I really like the other dressings in Newman's Lite lineup as well, so definitely check those out.

Remember, just because a dressing is low in calories and fat, that doesn't mean you can drown your salad in multiple servings and consider it guilt-free. Those calories and fat grams WILL add up! Always measure out your portions. Then dip, don't pour!

Dear HG,

I recently heard about Green Giant Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips. Are these a good snack swap for potato chips?

Seeking Swaps

Dear Seeking Swaps,

Great question! We tried the new Green Giant Zesty Cheddar Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips, and I can say that they're certifiably delicious. Crispy, cheesy... all-around amazing! They're made with good-for-you ingredients like whole-grain corn and dried bell peppers, and a 1-oz. serving (about 10 chips) has 140 calories and 7g fat, plus a gram of fiber (PointsPlus® value 4*). And unlike some veggie chips that list powdered veggies at the bottom of a long ingredient list, those peppers are the third ingredient.

BUT! Just because these veggie-rific snacks are a smart alternative to greasy potato chips, don't kid yourself into thinking these (or any veggie chips that are mostly made up of grains or other starches) are as good for you as a serving of real vegetables. They're not. In fact, some veggie chips have as much fat as standard potato chips. (I call these food fakers. Click for more on FFs!) Always read snack labels, and look for finds with reasonable fat and calorie counts as well as some fiber. Click here for some of our top chip picks. And for a truly veggie-based chip-like snack, check out this HG recipe for Baked Kale. Happy snacking!

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