By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

In grocery stores today you can find a dip to suit just about everyone’s taste. Whether you enjoy salsa, cheese dip, bean dip, spinach dip, guacamole, ranch, or French onion, there’s one for everyone! But what’s inside these dips is what really matters.

Depending on the type and brand of dip you buy, they can be loaded with as many as 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 280mg of sodium per two tablespoon serving. But who just eats the dip by itself? When you consider the calories, fat, and sodium that many kinds of chips will add, you can easily have a snack with 300 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 460mg of sodium! (And that’s just assuming you have 1 serving of chips with 2 tablespoons of dip!)

Even if you dip more nutritious foods like veggies or wedges of whole-wheat pita bread, the calories, fat, and sodium from these dips can turn a healthy snack into a poor one very quickly.

The Nutrition Action Healthletter recommends choosing dips with no more than 1 mg of saturated fat and 150 mg of sodium (70mg for salsas) per two level tablespoons. These guidelines can be hard to follow when buying already made products from the grocery store.

I searched the shelves of the grocery store for popular dips. Those listed below meet the above criteria; all the others exceed them in saturated fat, sodium, or both.

Kim’s Quick Picks:
• Newman’s Own all Natural Chunky: 10 calories, 0g fat, 65mg sodium
• Frog Ranch all Natural Salsa: 10 calories, 0g fat, 40mg sodium
• Eat Smart Jalapeno and Lime Tres Bean: 25 calories, 0g fat, 130mg sodium
• Kroger Original Bean: 35 calories, 1g fat, 140mg sodium
• Mr. Avocado Classic Mild: 60 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 95mg sodium
• Garden Fresh Guacamole: 45 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat 105g sodium
• Sabra Hummus: 70 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 130mg sodium
• Athenos Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: 70 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 140 sodium

With store-bought products exceeding these nutrition guidelines, homemade dips might be a good option. Many recipes can be made with low-fat bases like low fat cream cheese, fat free sour cream, and light mayonnaise. Adding different herbs and spices to your dips is a great way to add flavor without adding sodium.

To make your own ranch dip: Use one packet of ranch salad mix (note: salad mix is lower in sodium than the dip mixes) with fat free or reduced fat sour cream. The result is a dip that tastes fresher and is lower in calories, fat and sodium than the store bought variety (40 calories, 1-3g fat, 0-2g saturated fat, 50mg sodium per 2 tablespoons).

Bottom line: Read the labels on store bought dips for saturated fat and sodium or make your own at home using healthier ingredients.

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