Not all condiments are created equal. Some are healthy, some are unhealthy, and some have the potential to be either, depending on how they’re used. Here’s a guide to some of the most common condiments you might use every day, and how best to incorporate them into your diet. When it comes to condiments, salad dressings are an obvious no-no, but there are others that can also easily send your calories and fat content through the roof.
- Mayonnaise: We’ve all been there: you’re at a picnic, barbecue, or other outdoor event and someone brings a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. There’s only one problem — the salad is swimming in mayo. Mayo is loaded with fat and calories, so it’s best to avoid putting it on your food if possible. Try using greek yogurt instead, which has less fat and fewer calories than mayo or opt for mustard instead.
- Ketchup: When it comes to ketchup, it’s important to look at both the sugar content and the sodium content. The high sugar content can pack on the pounds quickly, especially if you’re using it as a dipping sauce for French fries or other fried foods. The high sodium content can cause increased blood pressure and swelling in your extremities as well as lead to weight gain. Ketchup is also notorious for containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which has been linked to obesity in both children and adults.
- Barbecue sauce: Just one tablespoon of barbecue sauce can contain up to 10 grams of sugar. That’s more than a chocolate chip cookie! For a healthier option, make your own using tomato paste and spices like chili powder, ginger, and cumin so you can control how much sugar goes into it.
- Creamy salad dressings: Many creamy salad dressings (including ranch and blue cheese) are high in saturated fat and calories. Switch to low-fat or non-fat versions if you enjoy these types of dressings.