5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ

5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ

You can still enjoy the delicious fun of summertime cookouts and stay on track with your weight loss goal. We have lots of lower-calorie ideas to help you do that, such as 5 Better for You Burger Recipes You”;ll Love > and Healthier Potato Salad> But while you are choosing healthy dishes like those, be aware that sneaky excess calories are lurking in places where you might not expect them. Condiments may seem like just little dabs of flavor, but, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a single tablespoon of ketchup can have four grams of sugar and an equal amount of mayonnaise can come with 90 calories and 10 grams of fat. That”;s why they”;re counted as “;Extras”; in your Nutrisystem weight loss plan (Not on Nutrisystem yet? Click here to get started >). Good news: These five low calorie condiments are loaded with flavor. Better news: They are all “;Free”; foods you can enjoy to your heart”;s content.

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Here”;s what you need to know about choosing and using low calorie condiments :
1. Mustard

honey mustard

The seeds from the mustard plant, a leafy green with a spicy flavor, are ground up and blended with vinegar and other ingredients to make the familiar yellow condiment. The color actually comes from turmeric, another flavorful spice. The mustard shelf at the grocery store is filled with lots of choices, from mild, smooth-textured bright yellow types to browner, grainier and very hot varieties. Dijon mustard is blended with white wine to add a tart flavor to balance the moderately spicy taste of the mustard. Beware of honey mustard, which has added sugar, and “;dijonnaise,”; which has all the excess calories and fats of mayonnaise.

TRY: Mustard is most commonly used to add zest to burgers and hot dogs, but it makes a tasty glaze for grilled chicken, fish or vegetables. You can also use it to make a low calorie flavorful salad dressing, such as our Creamy Honey Mustard topping >

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2. Lemon/Lime Juice

low-calorie lemon lime juice

Your food gets a spark of bright, acidic flavor from the juice of these two citrus fruits. Both are nearly calorie-free and loaded with vitamin C. Generally, lemons are slightly more sour than limes, while for many people the latter has a lightly bitter taste. Fresh lemons and limes have the best flavor and they”;re easy to slice up and squeeze for juice by hand. You can also find packaged lemon and lime juice in supermarkets–;just be sure before you buy that they are pure juice and contain no added sweeteners.

TRY: Fresh lemon or lime juice adds a refreshing splash of flavor to calorie-free seltzer. These juices also brighten the taste of grilled fish or chicken, and they add a spark of acid to mixed and fruit salads. Briefly grill lemon or lime halves to infuse them with a smoky taste that gives many dishes a flame-cooked flavor.

3. Hot Sauce

low calorie condiments

Also known as chili sauce or pepper sauce, this spicy condiment is made from hot peppers blended with a little vinegar. Hot sauce comes in a wide range of heat options, from mildly tongue tingling to five-alarm fire. Those made with habanero or ghost peppers tend to be the spiciest. Sriracha (sometimes call “;rooster sauce”; because of the image on its label) is a popular Vietnamese-style hot sauce that”;s moderately spicy. According to BioMed Central, all hot sauces are loaded with capsaicin, the heat-bearing compound that research shows speeds metabolism and can help burn fat.

TRY: Unless you”;re an experienced hot-sauce lover, start with just a few drops on your food and add more once you”;ve tasted it. Mix a little hot sauce into ground turkey to punch up the flavor of your burgers with one of the most flavorful low calorie condiments. Sprinkle a little on grilled vegetables or seafood, such a shrimp or clams. Use hot sauce to make a zesty (and sugar-free) marinade for meats by whisking it with a little olive oil, fresh lime juice, minced garlic and chopped scallions.

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4. Salsa

low calorie condiments

When we think of salsa, we typically picture a chunky sauce made with tomatoes, chile peppers and onions that comes in various levels of spiciness. You can also find salsas that are based on tomatillos (green or “;salsa verde”;) or fruit such as mangoes or pineapple. When shopping for bottled salsa, be sure to check the label for added sugar, which will load on extra calories. To get all the goodness and nothing more, you can use our recipe to whip up your own fresh salsa in minutes.

TRY: Skip the cream-based dips and instead slip your veggies into a bowl of one of our favorite low calorie condiments: Salsa. Make quick and healthy guacamole for dipping by blending salsa and lemon or lime juice with mashed avocado. Hold the ketchup and top your burger with a spoonful of salsa. Fruit-based salsas turn plain grilled fish into tropical treat.

5. Vinegar

low calorie condiments

According to the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, vinegar is made, like wine, by fermentation, which in this case produces acetic acid rather than alcohol. While vinegar generally has a tangy flavor, you”;ll see a variety of types made with such ingredients as apple cider, red wine, and even champagne, each with slightly different tastes. Balsamic vinegar, made from grapes leftover from wine-making, is dark-colored and tends to be thicker and more flavor-intense than other types. Vinegar has long been used in cooking as well as a folk remedy for many conditions. One recent study even found that vinegar may prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can be very beneficial for people with diabetes.

TRY: Vinegar infused with herbs such as tarragon or basil make a flavorful (and calorie-free) salad dressing. A trick many chefs use is to splash roasted or grilled meats or vegetables with a little vinegar while they”;re still warm, which brings out the full flavor of the ingredients. Use apple cider vinegar in place of the creamy dressing in coleslaw or potato to reduce their fat content.

Interested in learning more about low-calorie options? Check out more recipes here >

The post 5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

Planning on a staycation this year because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Join the crowd in not joining the crowd. Not going to the beach, the lake, the mountain or the water park puts a lot of pressure on your backyard to be the place you want to be, especially for fun summertime activities. Now is the time to plan for a summer picnic… and to have a plan to keep it healthy and diet-friendly!

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Here are five fun ways to enjoy backyard summer picnic food and still lose weight:
1. Load some veggies on that grill.

grilled vegetables

Even veggie haters find grilled vegetables to be irresistible. That’s probably because this particular cooking method brings out their inherent sweetness. Slice up some onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and even cabbage “steaks,” then grill them up as a healthy side.

To keep your meal diet-friendly, load up half of your plate with veggies. Trending now: the carrot “hot dog.” Cook whole carrots on the grill and serve them on a whole wheat frankfurter bun with all the fixings. You can also use veggies in another way: in some grilled vegetable recipes, vegetables are layered between cubes of chicken, a firm fish like tuna or swordfish, shellfish such as shrimp or even lean beef. Vegetable kebabs can help you keep your meal balanced between higher calorie protein and lower calorie veggies with a fiber-friendly twist.

Check out these seven foods that taste better on the grill! >

2. Make sides that are the star of the meal.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Forget the mayonnaise-laden potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw that crowd every summer picnic table across the land. They’re as ho-hum as they are fattening. Instead, focus on some of the farm fresh produce that’s readily available this time of year.

Consider replacing slaw with a Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad that takes minutes to prepare and can sit in the fridge for hours, just getting more and more savory the longer it marinates! You also don’t have to nix slaw completely from the menu—just liven up a cabbage-carrot mix with a dressing of low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter. This Spicy Peanut Slaw recipe supplies one PowerFuel and two Vegetables to your daily count.

Love pasta salad? Broccoli, bell pepper strips and cherry tomatoes turn a simple Creamy Pasta Salad (mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise) into a work of art. Plus, it clocks in at only 228 calories per serving, even with the chopped turkey bacon added for crunch and protein. One serving counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Vegetable. Click here for the recipe! >

You also don’t have to banish potato salad if you make it the Nutrisystem way, using reduced fat mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt or even a piquant vinaigrette. Think outside the summer picnic basket too: Eliminate half of the potatoes from the recipe and mix in turnips, cauliflower or parsnips. Add fun and flavorful ingredients like dill, green onions, chives or capers. Then throw in some of your favorite vegetables, like fresh peas, bell peppers or radishes for a flavorful bite. Make a healthier potato salad for your summer picnic with these five tips. > 

3. Add Nutrisystem foods to the mix.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

How good would your Nutrisystem Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste if you made it on the grill? What about the Chicken and BBQ Beans? Yes. THAT good. End your picnic meal with a Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich or, as just about everyone does, with s’mores. Well, with our own S’mores Pie made with a graham cracker crust, ooey gooey marshmallow and real melted chocolate tucked inside. Mmmmm—and it’s only 140 calories!

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4. Plan active backyard fun and games.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Exercise off any excess calories from your summer picnic by planning outdoor activities for young and old. If you have enough yard, set up a volleyball or badminton net. Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy backyard games like tag, freeze tag or dodge ball, particularly if you incorporate water balloons into the fun. You can even do a riff on the egg-and-spoon relay race with filled water balloons and a wooden spoon. Throw Frisbees back and forth or set up a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Organize a post-picnic walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.

5. Hydrate wisely.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

While you can always turn to light beer and wine coolers to save some calories, don’t forget that studies have shown that alcohol can stimulate the appetite center of your brain and make you eat more, says the United Kingdom National Health Service.

Both wine and beer come in non-alcoholic versions. You can also whip up some delicious and satisfying “mocktails” that will wow your guests. Try a non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri that combines fresh and frozen strawberries with water and lime juice in the blender. It’s only 55 calories per serving and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem. Find this mouthwatering non-alcoholic drink recipe and four more mocktails right here! >

Avoiding alcohol at your backyard picnic can help you avoid unnecessary calories. However, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation on your Nutrisystem program. If you’d like to have a drink, check out this article on 10 Low Calorie Beers That Actually Taste Good! > You can also brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge and learn more about alcohol on our program right here. >

Be sure to explore The Leaf for more tips to enjoy this summer season with family and friends, including expert fitness and nutrition tips as well as delicious seasonal recipes for your weight loss journey!

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The post 5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com