Everyone knows that an amazing dressing is the secret to a great salad. While there are a ton of easy recipes you can follow to make your own at home, sometimes you just want a salad and you don’t want to work for it. For example, when you’re hangry and need food right away, store-bought salad dressing can sometimes seem like your only option.
Registered dietitians generally prefer homemade salad dressings to store-bought for some good reasons. Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition, tells SELF that options with labels like “low-fat” or “fat-free” tend to contain lots of sodium and added sugars (both of these things are fine in moderation, but the USDA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams, and your daily added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your overall diet). Nora Minno, R.D., C.D.N., also explains that, even if a dressing has a reasonable amount of added sugar or sodium per serving listed on the nutrition panel, you’re likely using far more than a single serving on each salad.
With all this in mind, even R.D.s can admit that store-bought salad dressings are often the more convenient option. As long as you’re paying attention to the label to make sure it contains nutritious ingredients—like olive oil, fruit or fruit juices, and spices—these pre-made dressings can be great, expert-approved options. SELF asked R.D.s to recommend their favorite store-bought salad dressings for when they’re in a pinch. From green goddess to balsamic to a lemon-turmeric vinaigrette, these are their nine favorite options to pick up from the supermarket.