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Pantry Essentials continued...

Condiments: Watch out for high amounts of salt in condiments and sauces. Even small amounts add up fast.

  • Barbecue sauce, low-sodium
  • Ketchup, reduced-sodium
  • Mayonnaise, reduced-fat or nonfat
  • Mustards: whole grain, honey, Dijon, yellow
  • Soy sauce, reduced-sodium
  • Vinegars: rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, raspberry. These make delicious salad dressings.

Fats and Cooking Oils: Cut down on butter in your cooking. Instead, use healthier oils, like olive and canola.

  • Margarine, trans-fat-free
  • Nonfat cooking sprays
  • Nonhydrogenated shortening
  • Oils, olive and canola
  • Replacements for fat when baking, such as applesauce, fruit puree, or yogurt
  • Salad dressings, reduced-fat or nonfat

Snacks: Stock your pantry with nuts, dried fruit, and whole wheat products for snacks and meals.

  • Nuts and seeds, assorted, raw (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)
  • Breads, tortillas, pitas, whole-grain
  • Crackers, whole-grain, trans-fat-free
  • Dried fruits
  • Popcorn cakes or brown rice cakes
  • Popcorn, plain or light microwave
  • Pretzels, whole-grain
  • Tortilla chips, baked, trans-fat-free

Spices vs. Salt: Too much salt drives up your blood pressure. Instead, add flavor with zesty spices and herbs. Options include:

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Caraway seeds
  • Cayenne
  • Chili powder
  • Chinese five-spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Dill
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Italian seasoning
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sodium-free seasonings

Sweeteners: Cut down on sugar. It's full of calories that will pack on pounds. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with healthier options -- although the less you use of any sweeteners, the better.

  • Brown rice syrup for a sweetening alternative in baking
  • Honey (in moderation)
  • Sugar-free or "light" maple syrups