Simple Spinach Salad with Low-Sugar Poppyseed Dressing

Challenge Accepted: Low-Sugar Salad Dressing

Here’s how I made this low-sugar salad dressing and easy spinach salad.

Healthy salad recipe diy low sugar poppyseed dressing

The first thing I do whenever I need to get my diet back on track – or to simply eat healthier in general – is to ditch the delivery and avoid processed foods and focus on making fresh food anat home.

And drink more water.

All easier said than done, of course.

Healthy salad recipe diy low sugar poppyseed dressing

In addition, I make an effort to be a lot more conscious of how much sugar I’m consuming.

… Generally speaking, actually. Not just when diet fixes and whatnot are at the forefront of my mind.

(In case you missed it, here’s the post I wrote on how I lost 30 pounds.)


Now, admittedly: I’m what you’d call an aspirational meal prep kinda gal – good intentions are there, but for whatever reason I don’t usually end up spending a day or night to do this.

Anyone else in the same boat?

Usually, it goes like this:

I make a quick run to the grocery store one or two days each week and aim to stay on the outskirts – where most of those good-for-you fresh food options are.

Trop50 low calorie orange juice recipe for salad dressing with greek yogurt


Right around the time I got back from Europe, Trop50 (you know ‘em — the low-cal orange juice beverage) and I began discussing a partnership on ways we could work together to shed some light on #SugarHacks – or easy (and effective) ways to lower your sugar intake on a daily basis.

I’ve been a long-time partner of the brand – and like you, I imagine, a long-time seeker of low-calorie beverages.

Side-note: Remember when I visited the orange groves earlier this year? It was like a wine tour — but, like, the Vitamin-C version.

I wrote about it here – including some deets on what really goes on during those blogger press trips.

trop50 low calorie orange juice mimosa recipes

To that end:

For me, the lower-your-sugar struggle tends to be fall somewhere between finding a balance between delicious and nutritious — and I’ve spent my fair share of paychecks in a quest to do so. You feel me?

I’ve picked up Trop50 on my grocery store “hauls” a handful of times – mainly during mimosa season. I like that it has 50% fewer calories and sugar — which, duh, who wouldn’t (an 8-ounce glass only has 50 calories) — but the main appeal for me is that it isn’t full of artificial sweeteners.

Most “other” sugar substitutes tend to trigger heartburn and headaches for me… Super sexy, I know.

So, hey – two birds, one stone; plus it gives us a reason to chat about health hacks and wellness tips together. (Not that we need an excuse to do so, but you know.)

how to make healthy salad recipes to make at home low sugar low calorie dressing


For today’s post, I’ll set the scene a bit:

Once Trop50 and I talked through some creative ways to incorporate a handful of #SugarHacks into my lifestyle (our lifestyle), I knew up-front that I wanted to challenge myself to do something I usually never do.

Like, never ever.

The challenge was to create an alternative to one of my favorite store-bought salad dressings… And one that’s edible.

Like I said, aspirational meal prep’er. Self-awareness at its best.


I know: Obviously it’s super convenient to have a handful of store-bought options on-hand — and there are many out there that are solid options that are low-sugar — but nothing beats the taste of the fruits of your labor… So-to-speak. Right?

Plus, homemade anything is typically much healthier – and cheaper – for you; reason being you know exactly what’s going into your bod.

how to make mandarin orange salad recipe low sugar healthy

Now, the dilemma:

I’ve been traveling a lot over the last few months (and at the time, I had that trip to Austin on the horizon), so I didn’t want to buy all this fresh food only to have it go to waste two days later later.

So using only what I (mostly) had in my kitchen already, I ultimately decided on a homemade, low-sugar poppy-seed dressing that I knew would pair well with my go-to: A simple spinach salad.

chicago food blogger makes healthy salad recipes to make at home for fall

On this particular day I went with a combination of greens, mandarin oranges (sans added sucre), slivered almonds, chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds for the salad fixin’s.

Oh – and avocado. Obviously.

salad dressings to make at home poppyseed

To make the dressing (full recipe of which I’ll share below), I used honey to subtly sweeten the taste and low-fat Greek yogurt to thicken up the texture.

Said another way, here’s how I “(sugar) hacked” it:

  • Honey rather than white sugar or sweetener.
  • Low-fat plain yogurt rather than milk, sour cream, mayonnaise, etc.

… This works well in most recipes, FYI.

diy homemade low sugar poppyseed healthy low calorie sugar salad dressing


Here’s the deets and directions:

For the salad:

Layer your greens and toppings — no tricks, here. Again, I used spinach, mandarin oranges (a Trop50-inspired ingredient, admittedly– but they were a tres de-lish topper), pomegranate arils, avocado, slivered almonds and chopped walnuts.

For the dressing:

  •      1 tablespoon honey
  •      2 tablespoons white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  •      1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  •      1 tablespoon olive oil (or similar)
  •      1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  •      Salt to taste

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients to combine – or as an alternative, add them in a jar and shake, shake, shake. (You can add in a touch more yogurt to meet your desired texture.)

homemade healthy low calorie salad dressin with greek yogurt honey instead of sugarhealthy salad dressings to make at home spinach salad with avocado walnuts pomegrante orangeschicago food blogger makes healthy salad recipes to make at home for fall

Serve it up immediately.


Go back for seconds.

spinach salad with ntus healthy low sugartrop50 tropicana low sugar orange juice low calorie recipes

What do you think? Pretty easy, no?

If you have your own recipes and such to share, I’d love to hear ’em in the comments below.

In addition, I’m going to do a follow-up post with a few other general sugar hacks, so if you have specific questions or dietary issues that you’d like me to address/include, let me know!

healthy fall salad recipes

If you enjoyed today’s post, here’s a few more you might like:


H2O Hacks for Weight Loss, Digestion & More

How I lost 30 Pounds (and found myself along the way)

How to Make Your Own Mimosa Bar

(I am always open to your suggestions for genearl wellness and recipe-based posts, too!)

easy salad recipes to make at home for family

This is the sweater I styled three ways yesterday, by the way. It’s too cozy not to be a repeat offender!

*In this post: 


Oversize fisherman’s sweater: Milly
Skinny black denim: Hudson Jeans (on sale)
Brown belt: Old (Recently purchased this one and love it)
Velvet mules: Steve Madden ‘Kaden’ (multiple colors available, size up)
Nail polish: OPI Big Apple Red


Ceramic leaf dish: Williams Sonoma (old, similar here)
Mini bowls: CB2 (on sale for under $3)
Other dishes: CB2 (see dining items on sale here)
Measuring spoons: Scandicraft (under $13 here)


Iron & Honey Photography

Created in partnership with Trop50 — a brand I genuinely enjoy (and drink).
Thanks for supporting the brands that support Among Other Things!

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