Condiments at those fun summer picnics and barbecues may seem so innocent (a squeeze here, a smear there, what's the harm?) But with hidden fat and calories, they can be your worst enemy. Here, nutritionists break them down.
This low-cal choice gets top ranking for its veggies, which add fiber and flavor to summer staples.
"Cooked and/or canned tomato products like salsa not only count as a veggie serving (at a 1/4 cup)," nutritionist and SELF blogger Sarah-Jane Bedwell said, "but they are also higher in lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer."
Classic French's mustard is a perfect no-calorie addition to burgers and sammies, and spicy and Dijon mustards can add an extra kick to vinaigrettes. Nutritionist Carolyn Brown loves a basic salad dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper, a far healthier option than just about any jarred dressing.
Sriracha and hot sauce
If you like things hot, you're in luck -- spicy sauces contain capsaicin, known to increase levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1. So you can increase metabolism and decrease appetite, all while loading up on flavor, Brown said.
This superstar chickpea spread adds filling fiber to sandwiches, wraps and veggie burgers. Bonus? Variety.
"There are flavors for every taste, from spicy to roasted garlic," Bedwell said. "And with most brands, you can have two tablespoons for less than 100 calories." (Check the label, of course.)
Related: 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss
Nutritionists love avocados for their heart-healthy monosaturated fat, which will help you feel full. Try guac or slices of avocado on a burger or salad, as a dip for veggies and shrimp cocktail, or even in a smoothie. Note that Brown recommends no more than half an avocado per day (a typical serving size is one-fourth of the fruit).
Although it's easy to love, ketchup's calories and sugar add up quickly, making it one of the most frequent "break up" ingredients on Brown's list for clients. She recommends that fanatics switch to salsa; if you can't say goodbye completely, Bedwell suggests Sir Kensington spicy ketchup because it's got simple ingredients and is lower in sugar.
This hot dog topper is full of sugar (four grams per tablespoon in most varieties). Regular pickles offer the same flavor with less sweet stuff, making a great low-calorie snack on their own. But if you're stuck on the tangy-ness and texture of relish, Brown suggests sauerkraut, which is a good source of digestive-helping probiotics.
Related: Secrets To Firing Up Your Metabolism
BBQ & Steak Sauce
These zippy extras are loaded with sugar and sodium.
"A good piece of steak shouldn't even need sauce on top," nutritionist Keri Gans said. Avoid the sauces altogether and use a dry rub or salt and pepper to treat meat before grilling.
Soy and Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki is a harbor for sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and both kinds of sauce are packed with salt (even low-sodium versions). Miso is a healthy alternative and will also give you a hit of probiotics that aid digestion. But be wary of bright orange "miso dressings" that contain minimal real miso, warns Brown.
You won't miss this artery-clogger when you swap it out for nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Try it as a base for dips (like this feta-dill recipe). Worried about your baked potato being too blah? Gans says to try black bean hummus instead.
What makes it the most offensive on our list? It's high in saturated fat. Varieties made with canola or olive oil can cut down on the bad fats and have more of the heart-healthy kind, says Bedwell. But also consider alternatives, like hummus in tuna salad or nonfat plain Greek yogurt in other traditional picnic salads.
This article originally appeared on Self.com.