A salad is a dish of vegetables, legumes, eggs, pasta, meat, seafood or any mixture that is tossed together, and seasoned with spices, herbs or sauces. Salad dressings may be kitchen made or commercially manufactured. Salads are extremely popular among weight watchers and fitness freaks. Popular salad dressings include vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cheese, yogurt, etc. Most of these dressings have high calories and may hinder our weight loss efforts. Although the basic ingredients of most salads consists of fresh, unprocessed food items such as vegetables and sprouts, the dressing used may be fatty and full of calories.

Nowadays, many different types of commercial low-calorie versions of traditional salad dressing is available. Some prominent brands marketing these such dressings are Walden Farms, Kraft, Wish Bone, Briannas, Drew's All Natural and Newman's Own. These ready-made dressings come in a wide variety of flavors and you'll have a hard time deciding which ones NOT to include in your salad bar. Apart from these, you can put together some simple and easily available ingredients in your own kitchen and whip up your very own low-calorie dressing. Here are some recipes that you can try out.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • ¼ cup, Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon, light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons, fat-free yogurt
  • 1½ tablespoons, Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons, honey
  • ½ tablespoon, olive oil
Method: Mix all the ingredients well and store in the refrigerator.

Calories per Tablespoon: 31

Low-cal Caesar Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup, low-fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup, low-calorie mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup, lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons, parsley (freshly chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons, Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons, water
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons, Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh oregano or basil leaves (minced)
Method: Mix all the ingredients and whisk till smooth. Cover and refrigerate.

Calories per Tablespoon: Less than 20

Creamy Low-cal Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup, low-fat cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup, lemon juice or white vinegar
  • ½ cup, tomato juice
Method: Blend with a hand beater till and store covered in a refrigerator.

Calories per Tablespoon: 7

Ranch Style Salad Dressing with a Calorie-free Twist

  • 1 oz. Ranch style dry salad dressing
  • 1 cup, buttermilk
  • 1 cup, low-fat yogurt
Method: Mix till smooth and creamy. Refrigerate well in advance before serving.

Calories per Tablespoon: 10

Low-cal Lemon-Olive Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup, lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons, olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon, mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon, paprika
  • ½ teaspoon, celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • A pinch of cayenne
Method: Mix the dry ingredients together in a tight lidded jar and then stir in the liquids. Shake well and store in a refrigerator.

Calories per Tablespoon: 20