Dressing Up Your Salads With Diabetes
Last updated: September 2021
Have you had more salads on your dinner table now than you did prior to your diabetes diagnosis? Sometimes one of the first things people think of when discussing "healthy foods" is salads. But actually, eating salads can be trickier than you may think.
Salad dressing warnings for type 2 diabetes
Just because salads are green does not mean they don’t carry extra calories or carbohydrates. Being aware of your salad dressing breakdown is a great way to keep those greens diabetes-friendly! Here are some tips on what to choose when buying or ordering salad dressing.
Watch out for misleading dressing labels
Often, when dressings are touted as low fat or lower calorie, it is due to the fact that fat was removed and replaced with sugar. The sugar helps to add the flavor that the removal of fat took away. We have learned a lot over the years about the low-fat diet trend and have come out on the other side encouraging healthy fats!
Healthy fats are okay in moderation
Salad dressings made with olive oil are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are important for fending off heart disease. Next time you are in the grocery store, flip to the back of your salad dressing bottle and check out the list of ingredients. If one of the first few ingredients listed is sugar, put that dressing back on the shelf and keep looking!
Cream-based dressings have more saturated fat
While we chat about fats, let’s take a quick look at cream-based dressings such as ranch, caesar, and thousand island dressing. These may not be packed with sugar, but they are packed with saturated fats from the cream and therefore higher calorie and less heart-friendly. Since diabetes and cardiovascular disease often go hand-in-hand, it is important to take these things into account. Opt for olive oil-based dressings such as balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing. There are also yogurt-based dressings in the refrigerated section that carry less fat and plenty of flavor!
Think outside the box with avocado and homemade dressing
You do not have to use traditional salad dressings at all, but can instead find plenty of easy ways to get texture and flavor without the bottled dressing! One of my favorite salad toppings is avocado. Loaded with healthy fats, not only will it give you texture but it will keep you feeling full until your next mealtime. Another option is to sprinkle some olive oil and vinegar or even just lemon juice. Homemade salad dressing recipes are delicious and easy to find online.
Quick tips for diabetes-friendly salad dressing
So next time you make a salad at home or choose to order one at a restaurant, remember these quick tips:
- Low or reduced-fat on the label means more sugar
- Cream-based dressing will be higher in saturated fat
- Getting dressing on the side or even avocado can help give you more control
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?