Creamy blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline long before the main course even begins. Lighten up these bad boys with a few quick tricks—they’ll still taste fantastic.
Folks LOVE to take their veggies, pita, and chips for a dip—actually, let’s call it a plunge. Creamy dips aren’t the only culprit out there but those are the ones highest in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. Here are the nutrition facts for ¼ cup of commercially-prepared popular dips. (Keep in mind that many folks down 2 to 4 times that amount in one sitting.)
- Blue Cheese: 220 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 500 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
- Artichoke: 200 calories, 16 grams total Fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 360 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar
- Ranch: 240 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 740 milligrams sodium, 4 grams sugar
- Onion: 120 calories, 9 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 420 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar
Other dips like hummus and guacamole aren’t shy in calories either, but at least there’s more healthy fat in them. Here are the average numbers you’ll see on ¼ cup of popular commercial varieties:
- Hummus: 140 calories, 12 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 260 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
- Guacamole: 120 calories, 10 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 180 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
Commercial varieties of dips typically add a bunch of additives and preservatives, which is one of the biggest reasons we suggest making your own.
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Light bites are your best bet before a big holiday meal. Use fresh, seasonal ingredients to make something small but fabulous for your guests to enjoy before turkey time.
Turkey or chicken sausage makes tasty finger food – add some pantry staples and viola! An elegant app for only 35 calories per piece.
Recipe: Antipasto Sausage Skewers (pictured above)
So easy and delicious – who doesn’t like warm cheese? Each ounce portion has 90 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 percent of your daily calcium needs. Serve with apples, whole-grain pretzels and lots of veggies for dipping.
Recipe: Baked Brie
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- Try swapping in white beans the next time you make hummus -- they're higher in protein and fiber than garbanzos.
With brand new TV programming and sports playoffs galore, January is clearly finger-food time. This week, I’m featuring three of my favorite TV snacks. I love hummus, but I prefer it MY way, made with white beans instead of chickpeas. It’s creamier, higher in protein and fiber and lower in fat. An equal amount of traditional hummus has 95 calories (about the same as mine), but less than 2 grams of protein (mine has 5), less than 2 grams of fiber (mine has 5) and 6 grams of fat (mine has less than 3 grams). For the roasted red pepper dip, I added three cheeses: light cream cheese, pepper jack and Parmesan, and then I baked it in the oven to make it gooey and warm. It’s a knock-out for friends and family. The tapenade is a traditional olive dip/spread livened up with fresh parsley, bright lemon and the distinct flavor of anchovies (the anchovies don’t overpower the dip because they balance nicely with the two olive varieties and capers). Serve these at your next cocktail party, football tailgate or book club meeting, or spread any of them on bread, tortillas or inside pita pockets for a killer sandwich or wrap!
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- Photo by Lara Robby/Studio D for Food Network Magazine
Get back in the healthy habit early and ring in the New Year with a smarter spread. Balance out the alcohol with plenty of food and virgin cocktails — nobody wants to kick off 2010 with a hangover
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