What’s a little salt with those fries? What harm can a few drizzles of cheese sauce do? Why is ranch dressing a no-no on your salad? You may be hard at work perfecting a diet that would trim a few inches from your waist, but counting calories from your daily food choices shouldn’t be your only concern. Stubborn pounds that won’t let go despite your efforts to work out and to diet may actually be caused by the stuff you use to flavor your food. It’s time you gave your pantry an inventory and checked out the nutritional and ingredient labels of your favorite condiments as they be contributing a great deal to those inches and pounds.
Here are some of the most culprit-y condiments and healthier alternatives to help you lose weight:
Salt is the most indispensable condiment there is, and for good reason. For one, it’s cheap and it’s tasty. But more importantly, the body needs salt to keep its regulatory actions in check. For example, your nerves rely on sodium to be able to send impulses to and from your brain. However, research says that we consume way too much salt – more than what the kidneys can take. Experts say that the salt limit is six grams per day. A pizza already contains nine grams! Even a slice of bland-tasting bread has about half a gram. When the body consumes too much salt, it produces a hormone that causes water retention. That’s the culprit behind bloating, water weight, and cellulitis.
Try instead: Soy sauce, garlic powder, or freshly ground pepper. Soy sauce is more flavorful than salt, plus it’s healthier. Its sodium content is lesser, too. Enrich the flavor of your dishes with garlic powder (not salt) and pepper.
Mayonnaise has similar consistency to creamy dressing and is therefore another fattening condiment. It’s really the least healthy among typical condiments in the household. In fact, a few dollops of mayonnaise in a tuna sandwich give you about 200 or more calories. That’s perhaps more than the actual sandwich itself!
Try instead: Fat-free versions or yellow mustard. There are also low-fat and canola oil-based and tofu-based versions of mayonnaise, which are both healthier. Yellow mustard is a weight-friendly alternative to mayonnaise. Its flavor is sharp so you will only need very little, and one serving only gives you 5 calories. Use it on your hotdogs, sandwiches, and be guilt-free. If you’re using ketchup, make sure it’s the low-sugar, low-sodium kind.
Salad dressings and dips
If your idea of a healthy snack is a green salad, you kill the purpose right away when you drizzle ranch dressing all over your greens. The most fattening condiments are salad dressings particularly ranch and honey mustard. These condiments are made from highly saturated fats and they’re loaded with calories. Just think about how much salt and sugar they contain.
Try instead: Olive oil-based dressings, lemon juice, salsa and yellow mustard. If you can’t live without dressing on your salad, choose olive-oil based versions like vinaigrettes. Or, squeeze fresh lemon and drop a pinch of pepper for flavor. For dips, go for salsa which has about 10 calories in a serving but zero fat. Give it a few drops of hot sauce for that extra calorie burn!
>> Read more: Get The Skinny On Cooking Oils