Chef pouring salad dressing on salad

How to Choose the Right Salad Dressing for Chronic Kidney Disease

By: Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN, PatientsLikeMe Contributor

Italian, Caesar, French, Thousand Island, Vinaigrette…there are so many salad dressings to choose from! Salad dressings are often packed with sodium, making them a less kidney-friendly choice for those with CKD. A low-sodium diet has been shown to help manage blood pressure and overall kidney health. This Spring and Summer, try choosing lower-sodium salad dressings for your CKD.

How to choose a kidney-friendly salad dressing

Sodium – When it comes to choosing a kidney-friendly salad dressing, sodium is one of the first things to look at. Many salad dressings are high in sodium because they contain salt. Salt is added to so many foods because it adds flavor. However, too much sodium is not helpful for the kidneys and can actually cause blood pressure to increase! To ensure that you are following a lower sodium diet for your kidney disease, try choosing salad dressings that are low in sodium. These are dressings that have 140mg of sodium or less per serving. See examples below for some of my favorite options! 

Fat – Fat should be part of a kidney-friendly diet. Fat helps to keep us full and satisfied and also allows us to better absorb some vitamins. With that being said, it’s important to choose fats that are lower in saturated fat because studies show that excessive amounts of saturated fat may contribute more to heart disease and high cholesterol (1). Try choosing salad dressings that contain heart-healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts and seeds. This will help to protect your heart when you have chronic kidney disease. 

Phosphate additives – Some salad dressings also contain phosphate additives. These additives are added to foods to help preserve/stabilize them and/or to add flavor or color. When you have CKD, it’s important to avoid phosphate additives because studies show that they contribute to blood levels of phosphorus (2). Having too much phosphorus in your blood can put you at risk for cardiovascular and bone health issues. Phosphorus is not required to be listed on the nutrition label, however you can find phosphate additives on the ingredients list. Look for anything with “PHOS” and that is a phosphate additive. The dressings I share below are all free from phosphate additives.

Kidney-friendly store-bought salad dressings:

  • 365 brand raspberry vinaigrette (110mg sodium per serving) 
  • Bragg’s vinaigrette (20mg sodium per serving) 
  • Drew’s roasted garlic (120mg sodium per serving) 
  • Annie’s balsamic vinaigrette (60mg sodium per serving) 
  • California olive ranch miso ginger (90mg sodium per serving)
  • Primal kitchen balsamic vinaigrette (125mg sodium per serving) 
  • Cindy’s Kitchen avocado vinaigrette (40mg sodium per serving) 
  • Cava yogurt dill (45mg sodium per serving)

Kidney-friendly low-sodium dressing recipes:

The bottom line

Salad dressings can be a great way to add flavor and healthy fats to your salads and veggies. Try choosing lower-sodium salad dressings that contain healthy fats and no phosphate additives to help keep your kidneys healthy and happy! 


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