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Nutrition & Fitness

Summer Dipping

  • Load up on fruits and veggies

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Summer is here, and weekends are quickly and relentlessly turning into food fests. Packed with picnics, barbecues and children’s birthday parties you can imagine how much tempting food is around at all times. I have to admit, I get sucked in when I see a plate of fresh veggies with any kind of dip. And, one thing I’ve noticed is that no matter what type of party you attend you can pretty much bank on the fact that there will be dip!

Spinach-artichoke, onion, hummus, guacamole, salsa, ranch, the list goes on and on. Which dip provides the most nutrition with the least amount of calories and fat? In other words the most bang for your buck?

Read my tips below before you take a summer dip:

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Sure spinach and artichokes are high in fiber and nutrients but even those great qualities get drowned out when mixed with Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, eggs and mozzarella cheese.

One tablespoon: 100 calories and 8 grams of unhealthy fat

Dip re-do: If creamy dips are really your thing, all hope is not lost. Simply replace full fat cream cheese with fat- free or low-fat cream cheese and 0% fat Greek yogurt for sour cream in your dip recipes to lower the fat content without sacrificing the taste!

Guacamole

This is one of my favorite dips for so many reasons. First, all of the ingredients are vegetables, which means it’s packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Second, avocados are the only vegetable (well actually fruit because it contains a seed) that is a natural source of monounsaturated fat—the heart healthy kind. And finally, with the healthy mix of fat and fiber a little bit will go a long way.

One tablespoon: 25 calories and 2.5 grams of good-for-you fat.

Dip re-do: Guacamole can become a diet no-no quickly if you’re scooping it up with fried tortilla chips. Replace with baked tortillas or veggies like carrots and celery to keep it healthy.

French Onion Dip

Dips made with pre-packaged flavorings are usually mixed with pure sour cream which is laden with saturated fat and calories.

One tablespoon: 40 calories, and 4 grams of fat

Dip re-do: To make this dip more healthy use non-fat sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt. Save about 30 calories and 4 grams of fat per 1 tablespoon. Also, skip the potato chips which are usually paired with this dip and use crudite or sea salt flavored soy crisps instead.

Hummus

A big party favorite and one of mine too! I love dips with a simple ingredient list and most hummus contain only chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon and salt. High in macro and micro-nutrients including fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins E, B, C & K as well as folate, calcium, sodium, zinc and magnesium, what’s not to like!

One tablespoon: 25 calories and 1 gram of fat

Dip re-do: Eating hummus with pita chips which will cost about 130 calories and 5 grams of fat in just 14 chips. Instead pair that with a few veggies or some whole wheat crackers and you’ve got a satisfying healthy nosh in no time.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a nationally known registered dietitian based in New York and the creator of a proprietary high-fiber nutrition program for weight loss, wellness and for treating various medical conditions. Tanya authored the bestselling weight loss book The F-Factor Diet, and she is the first dietitian with a national line of high-fiber foods, which are sold under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.

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