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Swap out sneakily bad-for-you condiments

You might think that choosing a salad or a sandwich over a burger and fries is a good option, but once you put on dressing or condiments, these "healthy" choices can often be worse for you. Condiments may taste yummy, but they sneakily pack on the pounds with ingredients like fat and sugar. Moderation is key for these four bad condiment choices, but check out the healthy alternatives below for a better meal.

From tuna salad sandwiches to sushi, mayo often makes these good-for-ya foods take a nosedive. If it's the texture you like on your sandwiches, opt for avocados instead. A few slices will give your food a creamy kick with fats that are good for your hair and skin. Mustard is also a tasty and healthier alternative, and it goes great with lots of sandwiches. If you must have mayo, go for a light type, and try to use as little as possible.

Ranch Dressing
It's popular as a salad dressing and dip for veggies, but ranch dressing is really made mostly of mayo and sour cream. In general, when it comes to choosing salad dressing, the less thick and creamy ones are better for you. Balsamic vinaigrette is loads lighter on your salad and still has a sweet taste to it. For dipping raw veggies, hummus is a fab alternative. There are loads of flavors to choose from, like roasted red pepper and garlic, and the protein and fats in hummus are good for your body. 

Sadly, this condiment staple isn't so great for you: more than one quarter of the bottle is made of sugar! You can eat ketchup in moderation, but if you're squeezing a significant amount on your fries, you should definitely lower the amount you're eating. For burgers or other sandwiches, a few fresh slices of tomato are a much better choice (after all, ketchup does come from tomatoes!). Another good tomato-based option is salsa, so try tortilla chips and salsa for a snack instead of fries and ketchup.

Barbecue Sauce
Like ketchup, this popular sauce is so sweet because of all the sugar in the bottle. Use it in moderation, but also try soy sauce or hot sauce instead. These options can pack sodium, but are low in calories and have other redeeming qualities. Low-sodium soy sauce has some nutrients that are good for you, and hot sauce can boost your metabolism. They taste good with foods you would normally dip in bbq sauce, and are also great toppers to plain foods like rice.

BY RACHEL NUGENT ON 10/25/2011 12:00:00 PM

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