Condiments: How to add flavor without boosting calories

Condiments: How to add flavor without boosting calories - Herbalife healthy eating adviceCondiments can brighten up a meal, but they can also dump excess calories, sugar and salt into your system. Here’s your ultimate guide to condiments… and, if you want to skip to the end, I’ve added my condiment compendium – you can see exactly how many calories are in hidden the most popular condiments. It’s a must read if you want to pack in extra flavor without adding high levels of fat, sodium and sugar.

Condiments – they’re the little extras we love to put on our foods. Some people seem to love condiments a little too much -– I’ve seen hamburgers piled up with so many condiments that the patty seems like an afterthought. I get it – after all, a dab of a sauce, spread or salad dressing adds a personal touch to a dish … and makes it our own. But flavor isn’t the only thing that condiments bring to a dish – many sauces and dressings bring plenty of calories, fat, sodium and sugar too.

Calories in Condiments Count

Condiments always come up in conversations with clients when I’m asking them to recall what they typically eat in a day. If someone tells me they eat “just toast” for breakfast, they often forget – until I ask – that they’ve topped it with a couple hundred calories’ worth of “a little butter and jam”. They forget to count the squirt of mayonnaise on their sandwiches, the dollop of sour cream on their baked potatoes, or the drizzle of honey on their yogurt – but it all adds up. And it’s not the just the calories in the condiments – you can pick up quite a bit of fat, sugar and sodium, too.

Many Condiments Add Salt, Fat, Sugar

Many condiments rely on the ‘big three’ – salt, fat and sugar – to tickle your taste buds. And that’s all the more reason to watch your intake so carefully. The calories in fatty condiments (like gravies and dressings) can add up quickly, and the hidden sugar content in some condiments – take barbecue sauce for example – can be surprisingly high. And, if you’re watching your sodium intake, a couple of tablespoons of salty fish sauce or soy sauce could take you over your daily limit.

Using Condiments Wisely

Condiments, of course, have their place. So, here are a few tips for using them wisely.

  –  Control your portions.
Condiments: How to add flavor without boosting calories - Herbalife healthy eating adviceCondiments are meant to enhance the flavor of what you’re eating – not drown it out. If you’re dumping so much dressing on your salad that you can’t even taste the leafy greens, you might want to work on scaling back. Work towards using just the amount you need to enhance the taste.

  –  Look for low fat, low sugar and low sodium versions of your favorite condiments.
For many of the ‘traditional’ condiments, you can often find healthier alternatives. Reduced fat salad dressings, mayonnaise and cream cheese, for example are fairly easy to find. Similarly, look for versions of your favorite condiments that have less salt or sugar – and compare among brands. The values in my condiment table below are averages across brands, but the numbers can vary quite a bit from brand to brand.

  –  Use condiments where they count.
Sometimes, we’re so used to adding condiments to our foods, that we do it out of habit – often before we even taste the food. And, many people add condiments to nearly everything they eat. But when foods are well-prepared, properly seasoned and based on fresh ingredients, their flavors can often stand on their own, without the need for enhancement. So, if you tend to grab the ketchup bottle before you even pick up your fork, try taking a bite first. See if you can appreciate the flavor of the food – and not simply the flavor of what you’ve doused on top of it.

Nutritional Information for Popular Condiments

Note: All Nutritional Information is for a two tablespoon (30ml) serving, and your portion may vary from this amount depending on the condiment. Also, the values below represent averages of popular brands. You may find brands with more or less calories, fat, sodium or sugar.

Condiment

Calories

Fat (g)

Sodium (mg)

Sugar (g)

Barbecue Sauce

100

0

800

18

Butter

200

23

150

0

Cheese Sauce

60

4

250

0

Chili Oil

270

30

0

0

Cream Cheese

90

9

125

1

Fish Sauce

30

0

2375

2

Gravy

25

1

200

0.5

Guacamole

50

5

250

1

Honey

125

0

2

35

Horseradish

14

0

100

2

Hot Sauce

3

0

750

0

Jam

110

0

15

20

Ketchup

40

0

300

8

Maple Syrup

105

0

4

24

Mayonnaise, light

100

10

200

1

Mayonnaise, regular

180

20

160

0

Mustard

20

1

340

0

Peanut Butter

190

16

150

3

Pesto

115

11

350

1

Relish, sweet pickle

40

0

500

10

Salad Dressing, creamy

130

14

300

2

Salad Dressing, vinaigrette

100

8

350

3

Salsa

10

0

200

0

Sour Cream, regular

50

5

15

0

Sour Cream, low fat

35

2

30

2

Soy Sauce

20

0

2450

0.5

Steak Sauce

30

0

560

4

Tartar Sauce

120

12

220

2

Teriyaki Sauce

50

0

500

8

Tzatziki Sauce

30

2.5

25

0

Vinegar, balsamic

30

0

10

7

Vinegar, rice, seasoned

10

0

10

4

Vinegar, white, red wine, cider

0

0

2

0

Wasabi

60

0

600

0

Worcestershire Sauce

30

0

400

6

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

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