Choosing the Best Snack Dips
They are a staple at many social gatherings, but their calorie counts are a mystery to most. Usually served in colorful saucers alongside crunchy treats like apples, chips, carrots, red bell peppers, or celery, dips add tasty flare to snacks, but they may be a big question mark in your daily calorie log. From one serial dipper to another, there is a way to gauge when enough is enough.
A Real Dip Portion
A regular portion of dip such as veggie, caramel, or hummus, is 2 tablespoons. What's more surprising is the calorie count of 100 plus calories most dips will cost you. Unless you're looking at their light versions, the T. Marzetti brand's Regular Ranch and Dill dips are at 110 calories a piece. Some other brands are even more calories at 120 for a single serving. Trying to preserve those calories is as easy as either buying a dip mix, as Hidden Valley offers, and swapping sour cream for fat-free Greek yogurt, or opting for a bean or hummus dip instead.
The above dips pack 11 and 13 grams of fat, but they are just a start to the fat traps that many specialty dips have. Spinach-Artichoke Dip at restaurants, at a serving of just 3 oz. could add up to almost 200 calories. While Boston Market's version is a reasonable 100 calories, Cosi's is at 182 and 15 grams of fat. Another dip with a big fat trap is pesto. With its pine nuts and olive oil base, you're looking at a similar amount of calories and fat. Classico's 1/4 cup serving is 100 calories, but Bertolli's is a whopping 270 and 27 grams of fat. Considering that these are the dip only calorie counts, adding anything but a vegetable to these could turn a small snack or appetizer into a dinner sized calorie splurge.
The Dip Details
You don't have to sacrifice flavor for a healthier dip. The key to dips with less calories is swapping ingredients. Instead of oil and mayo-based dips, go for those that use fat-free Greek yogurt. Also many dips have high fructose corn syrup or sugar in them, try and find those with this ingredient as far down on the list as possible, or not at all. For dips for fruit, like caramel loosen it with skim milk so it's not as thick. The same can be done for cheese. For guacamole, add water and more salsa.
What dips do you enjoy without a colossal calorie count to match?