Three Cheers! You are watching what you eat. Celebrate that you are taking control of your health. Probably you have an idea of what you shouldn’t eat, and hopefully a plan for what you should.
Whether you are weighing and tracking everything you eat or just trying to get smarter about what you eat, the one thing that really needs to be counted and reduced is condiments.
Condiments will often be overlooked when you are tracking calories, but they can be a killer to your weightloss efforts due to high fats, salts, calories and sugars especially. These are “empty calories” that provide calories to your waistline with very little nutritional content. The worst offenders are: mayonnaise, most salad dressings, teriyaki sauce, sweet marinades, Barbecue sauces, special sandwich sauces, and ketchup.
These condiments add 100’s of calories to your waistline. Some facts about these weight loss killers:
- Creamy Salad Dressings more than doubles the calories of a vegetable salad. You’d be healthier adding the protein from meat or fish than the dressing.
- Three packets of ketchup or 3 Tablespoons have as much sugar as a bowl of many sugary breakfast cereals.
- Even healthy oil dressings are still too high in fat calories if you use liberally.
Pay attention not to load your salad with more than a tablespoon of olive oil. Even healthy fats are naturally almost double the calories per gram compared to carbs and protein. You need fats to be smaller portion of daily calories. One Tablespoon of olive oil is over 100 calories.
One serving of regular BBQ sauce has more sugar than three Lindt milk chocolate truffle balls. Regular BBQ sauce also has most of the sugar content from high fructose corn syrup. You may recognize high fructose corn syrup as one of the worst contributors to obesity in news from recent years.
- One tablespoon of mayonnaise is as many calories as the whole can of tuna. Your body will use the protein in the tuna, while the mayo will most certainly be added fat on your hips.
- Every 23 calorie tablespoon of sour cream increases bad cholesterol in your blood.
Condiment calories add up fast even before you take into account the bloating from all that sodium. Make sure these extra empty calories don’t derail you!
Strategies for flavor without the extra love handles:
1. Mustard. Most mustards have little fat or sugar.
3. Replace sour cream and mayo in your recipes with plain Greek yogurt.
4. Use herbs and dry seasonings without salt and sugar instead of sauces.
5. Hot sauce. Simple hot sauces like Texas Pete, Frank’s Red Hot, and Tabasco have no fat or sugar. Avoid wing sauces with high fat.
6. Look for healthier alternatives. Read the ingredients and the nutrition label including sugar, fat, serving size and calories. My rule is no more than 5 grams of sugar at a meal. Our local Manassas and Springfield Virginia MaxMuscle stores carry this wonderful Hudson BBQ sauce with only three grams of sugar per serving, compared to sixteen grams of sugar in regular sauce. Yes, please note that the serving size is smaller in the healthier, but if equal in servings, the result would still have the Hudson sauce with 62% less sugar!
In summary, calories from condiments count toward your waistline without adding nutrition your body needs. Eliminate or Reduce their use. Even in healthier alternatives, portion size matters!
Eat healthier and smarter!