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Coleslaw Dressing That is Low in Calories

author image M.H. Dyer
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
Coleslaw Dressing That is Low in Calories
Coleslaw Dressing That is Low in Calories

Coleslaw, an easy salad made from shredded cabbage and dressing, is good any time, but works especially well for a summer picnic or barbecue. Cabbage is a nutrient-dense food, providing generous amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and calcium. A cup of shredded cabbage also contains only a mere 22 calories. Use a few simple modifications to keep a fat-laden dressing from negating the healthy benefits of the cabbage.

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At a whopping 94 calories per tablespoon, mayonnaise can quickly raise the calorie and fat content in your coleslaw. Reduced-fat mayonnaise is an option that minimizes the calorie load to about 36 calories per 1 tablespoon, depending on the brand.


If you don't like the flavor of reduced-fat mayonnaise, substitute plain Greek yogurt, which contains only about 16 calories per 1 tablespoon. Although regular yogurt is suitable, Greek yogurt is richer, thicker, and contains more protein. While a 6-ounce container of regular yogurt contains 10 grams of protein or less, the same amount of most Greek yogurts contains 14 to 18 gram of protein. In addition, the sugar content of Greek yogurt is about two-thirds that of most regular yogurts. While both are good sources of calcium, regular yogurt tends to be slightly higher. Read labels carefully; nutritional content varies among brands.

Flavoring the Dressing

A small amount of apple-cider vinegar or pickle juice can replace the tangy flavor of the mayonnaise. Stir about 3 tablespoons of vinegar or pickle juice into every 1/2 cup of yogurt. A bit of regular or Dijon mustard adds extra flavor to coleslaw dressing. Sweeten the dressing with a small amount of sugar, or use your favorite sugar substitute.


Season your healthy coleslaw dressing to suit your preferences. Start with freshly ground pepper and kosher salt or sea salt, or use a salt substitute if sodium is a concern. Stir in seasonings such as chives, celery seed or caraway seed.

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