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Try This, Not That: Condiments

By Eileen Ferrer, Skinny Gene Nutritionist

Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo

Condiments are a food’s best friend. Ketchup and French fries, a soft warm pretzel dipped in deli mustard, or even ranch drizzled over cold pizza. Although that last one is a favorite of mine, low-fat ranch with veggies is a better and healthier alternative.

There is a vast array of condiments that enhance the flavor of most foods, or condiments can be a must needed compliment to a certain meal like dressing for salad. However, condiments are pretty sneaky because they come in small packages and may be consumed in tiny quantities, but condiments often add extra calories, fat, sugar, and sodium to meals and snacks. The chart below is a few of the most common condiments used, along with their calorie, fat, sodium and sugar content.

Chart of Common Condiments

From the chart, most of the condiments are low calorie per serving size, but when more than the recommended serving size is consumed, the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium add up. Always be aware of the serving size and try looking for low calorie, low sodium and low fat options when choosing your condiments and dressings.

You can even hold the mayo, and try these healthier alternatives instead:

  • Mustard: This condiment seems so lonely without its counterpart ketchup, but ketchup can be loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Mustard alone is great, and comes in many varieties from regular yellow, whole grain to honey mustard.  Substitute it for mayonnaise on a sandwich, add it to homemade dressings or use as a dipping sauce.
  • Salsa: Make it fresh. It is a great way to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Make it at home by chopping tomatoes, onions, jalapenos for heat, and herbs. Add fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper for a tasty salsa to put over an egg white omelette or to eat as a snack with low sodium corn chips.
  • Vinaigrette Salad Dressing: A much healthier substitute to the traditional creamy dressings, made with healthier fats like canola, grape or olive oil. It also serves a double role as a delicious marinade.
  • Hot Sauce: This spicy condiment is packed with flavor, and low in calories; a tiny bit goes a long way. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that makes peppers hot, helps with congestion, and has antioxidant properties.

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