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Pick tomato-based sauces for a low-calorie flavor boost.
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Diet foods are notorious for being bland and boring. Dry salads, plain grilled chicken breasts and bowls of steamed veggies don't really hold too much appeal, and if you don't enjoy your food you're unlikely to stick to your diet. The good news is that you can spice things up a little. Losing weight is all about balancing calories -- you must consume fewer than you burn, so as long as the sauces you choose fit your calorie targets, you can still lose weight. Look for low-calorie sauces containing little to no sugar and fat and you needn't worry about them wrecking your diet.
Hot sauces are generally very low in calories, as they're based around low-calorie ingredients -- chillies, hot peppers, tomatoes and water. The idea that hot peppers and chillies can boost your metabolism is a myth, according to Dr. Mike Roussell, but hot sauces are still a good addition to your diet as they're far lower in calories than ketchup or pre-made pasta sauces. Avoid sweet chilli sauce however, as this contains high amounts of sugar.
You may not associate Mexican food with being particularly diet-friendly, but salsa is a healthy, low-calorie sauce. Salsa is predominantly tomato-based, with just onion, peppers and spices added. Look for low-sugar, low-salt salsas with no additives, or make your own by mixing tomatoes with other vegetables, lemon or lime juice and hot sauce or chillies. The advantage of doing this is that you control exactly what goes into your salsa and can make it as spicy or as mild as you please.
Homemade Salad Dressings
Store-bought salad dressings can be calorie bombs, loaded with sugar, salt and fat. Making your own is a far healthier option. The American Heart Association recommends combining olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice, or making a low-calorie creamy dressing with fat-free Greek yogurt, grated ginger, minced garlic, low-sodium soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice. Making your own means you can track exactly what goes into your dressing.
Naturally Sweet Sauces
A sweet sauce with dessert is a surefire way to wreck your diet in one fell swoop. When you next feel the need for something sweet, make a dessert sauce using fruit to satisfy your craving rather than reaching for the cookie jar. Take a mix of fruits and blitz them in a blender, adding a little water if needed. Blackberries, strawberries and blueberries work best, but you can also experiment with mango, pineapple, apple and any other fruits you fancy.