Let's face it, sometimes the condiments make the meal; but the wrong ones could be what's preventing the scale from budging. These five swaps can help you slash calories and boost nutrients — without sacrificing one iota of flavor:
Trade butter for avocado
Avocado is nature's butter. You can spread it on whole grain toast at breakfast and enjoy its creamy goodness knowing that per tablespoon it packs 3/4 fewer calories. And while butter is loaded with saturated fat, avocados contain heart healthy MUFAs (monounsaturated fats), vitamin E (a major anti-aging antioxidant), and potassium, a key nutrient for heart function and muscle contractions that acts as a natural diuretic (aka major de-bloater).
Swap mayo for hummus
This switch results in half the calories for double the amount (two tbsp rather than one) and because it's made from beans and garlic, it boosts your intake of protein, minerals and antioxidants. It's awesome on anything from an open faced sandwich or wrap to the dressing for chilled potato salad (try it — it’s yummy).
Use vinaigrette rather than ranch
You'll save at least 60 calories per 1/4 cup (size of a golf ball) and bonus: vinegar has been shown to control blood sugar and curb fat gain. One study found that people who consumed a tablespoon of vinegar before lunch and dinner lost an average of two pounds over four weeks — without making any other changes — and they felt more satiated.
Exchange ketchup for spicy mustard
When you slather ketchup on your turkey burger you might not think of it as a sweet sauce, but each tablespoon packs about a teaspoon of refined sugar. Kick up the flavor with mustard instead for about 1/3 the calories and same type of cancer fighting antioxidants found in broccoli and cabbage.
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.