Condiments: The Best and the Worst

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I’m from the Midwest where the top three food groups are BBQ sauce, Gravy and Ranch dressing. We all add these toppings to give our food more flavor but did you know that these condiments could be derailing you from your fitness goals? Sometimes these toppings can add another 200-500 calories to your meal (cringe)! When picking a condiment, a good rule of thumb is to steer clear of anything with a cream base, cheese base or fat base.

Here is a list of the Top 5 Most Unhealthy Condiments

1. Mayonnaise

No surprise here (can’t stand the stuff anyway)! Mayo is composed of egg yolks, soybean oil and vinegar. One tablespoon of full-fat mayonnaise contains 100 calories all from saturated fat (sad fats- bad fats).

Use this instead: Greek yogurt, avocado or hummus

2. Sour Cream

Fermented Cream. Sounds… delicious? Not at all! Avoid this condiment especially at restaurants because, they’re likely using the full-fat version – 2 tablespoons equals 60 calories.

Use this instead: Low-fat or fat-free sour cream (at home), guacamole, salsa or Greek yogurt


3. Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressing

Ranch, oh ranch. Not only does it have SOUR CREAM in it but it also has MAYONNAISE! Just two tablespoons of this dressing and you’re looking at 150 calories and 16 grams of fat. Blue cheese combines cream, blue cheese, half and half and mayo equaling 150 calories and 16 g of fat.

Use this instead: Light ranch and light blue cheese (still not great but what are you going to dip your wings in?!!?), black bean dip, hummus or salsa.

4. Ketchup

Ketchup is low in fat but loaded with sugar/high fructose corn syrup and salt. Two tablespoons has 40 calories but 8 g of sugar.

Use this instead: Salsa, fresh tomatoes, low sugar ketchup

5. BBQ Sauce

NOOOOOOOO!! My heart is breaking but yes, this culprit uses ketchup and sugar, sugar, sugar (molasses). And that’s just basic sauce. Now think of all of the combinations, maple sugar, brown sugar, and you’re pushing 11-16 g of sugar in 2 tablespoons.

There is no substitute for BBQ sauce. Ever. BUT you can try using tobasco sauce, olive oil or just flavored marinades (sorry, I can’t give this one up).

Top 5 Best Condiments:

1. Salsa

Salsa uses fresh ingredients and the fresh tomatoes contain lycopene which has been said to reduce your risk of cancer.

2. Mustard

No calories (yes) and its tangy and delicious! Plus specialty mustards can add a new kick to your foods.

3. Sriracha and Hot Sauce

Another huge GET for the healthy column! I’m borderline addicted to Sriracha! Not only does it take your food to a new level but spicy sauces are a known appetite suppressant. These hot toppings can also increase metabolism!

4. Hummus

This delicious spread/dip is high in protein and high in fiber. Plus, brands make the tastes fun to try (throw in some hot sauce perhaps?).

5. Guacamole

Fresh ingredients will never be a bad thing. Avocados are loaded with heart healthy fats which promote satiety. And they’re just so dang DELICIOUS!

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