7 Sauces That Are Killing Your Diet — and 7 Healthy Homemade Substitutes That Won't

Sugary, salt-filled sauces aren’t doing your diet any favors
peanut sauce

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7 Sauces That Are Killing Your Diet — and 7 Healthy Homemade Substitutes That Won't

peanut sauce

Thinkstock

The following list highlights seven unhealthy sauces and provides suggestions for how to either make the sauce healthier or how to make a comparable but healthier substitute.

Click here to see 7 Sauces That Are Killing Your Diet — and 7 Healthy Homemade Substitutes That Won't.

BBQ

bbq sauce

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Good ol’ BBQ sauce is a tasty, brown version of slather-able sugar and salt. The levels of sugar and sodium in many brands of this cookout favorite are reproachable, so we suggest making your own BBQ sauce to control its contents. This healthy Peach Love BBQ Sauce recipe gets its sweetness from peaches and honey, and its flavor is deliciously complicated by the inclusion of jalapeños, white-wine vinegar, and a wheat-based beer.

While the following 18 Healthy Ways to Season Your Chicken aren’t quite a thick, tangy barbecue sauce, we assure you that least one of them will jive with your taste buds.

Hoisin

Hoisin

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Ever have moo shu pork? What about Peking duck? These recipes utilize Hoisin sauce, which can be described as the Chinese version of BBQ sauce. Hoisin is salty, dark, and sticky, and it  makes for a great dipping sauce or meat glaze, but with most brands containing sugar as the first ingredient, it’s certainly not a sauce we suggest using often. Try making your own hoisin using soy sauce, a healthy brand of natural peanut butter (made from solely peanuts), honey, white-wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic powder, hot sauce, and black pepper to cut down on sugar and add in some healthy fats.

Curious about how Peking duck is made? We’ll show you how it’s done here.

Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish Sauce

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On its own, horseradish contains few-to-no calories and can be somewhat beneficial to your overall health. When it’s made into a sauce, nutritional value is thrown out of the window. Horseradish sauce is often made by combining grated horseradish with sour cream or mayo, salt, and other seasonings. While horseradish sauce may taste great with prime rib, it (like many other sauces on this list) gets its agreeable flavor from being full of fats and sodium.

The solution? Top your best prime rib recipe with straight-up horseradish. Or, if you really can’t handle the pungency of plain horseradish, consider making a relatively healthy Green Horseradish Vinaigrette recipe that utilizes honey, mustard, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and powdered greens.

Salsa

Salsa

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We can’t hold this in any longer: Why do companies add sugar to salsa? Isn’t the whole idea of salsa one that suggests health? Keep it simple and read your nutrition labels. Brands like Green Mountain Gringo taste great (although not everyone agrees on this) and don’t add sugar. Alternatively, make your own.

The weather’s starting to heat up, and we’ve got 10 Cool and Spicy Salsa Recipes for Summer.

Sofrito

Sofrito

Photo Modified: Flickr / Crastino / CC BY 4.0

Sofrito is made by sautéing tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onion in olive oil — none of those ingredients are killing your diet. As you’re probably aware, olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can consume. Sofrito really only gets scary when it’s bottled. Artificial preservatives and MSG (decide for yourself whether we should be scared of MSG) are found in premade sofritos, so while your diet may not suffer, your body just might.

Our suggestion? Stick with homemade sofritos, like this Puerto Rican-style one that’s incorporated into a bloody Mary (yum).

Tartar Sauce

tartar sauce

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The flavor of fish should speak for itself (just cook the whole damn thing and enjoy it without sauce, please), but, at some point in history, someone said, “I’m tired of healthy fish. Let’s deep fry it and dip it in a sauce that’s made of soybean oil, distilled vinegar, sweet pickles, corn syrup, egg yolk, high fructose corn syrup (one corn syrup is not enough!), and some other stuff.” With the inclusion of high fructose corn syrup, an add-in that many doctors consider poison, bottled tartar sauce is sugary. It’s also fatty.

If you really need sauce for your fish, try this four-ingredient Tangy Cucumber Sauce recipe, which only uses cucumber, watercress, yogurt, and mustard.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Thai Peanut Sauce

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The peanut sauce or gravy that is often served as part of a satay dish tastes good. It tastes so good that it can’t be healthy and, guess what? It’s not. With ingredients like peanut butter, full-fat coconut milk, peanuts, sugar or honey, soy sauce (an ingredient which can dehydrate you and can stain your teeth), and an oil, these sauces should be enjoyed with caution.

A little birdy told us about a healthy nut-based sauce alternative made with almond butter, hot water, tamari sauce, white-wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper that will go perfectly with your next satay.