Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to make nutrition simple+easy+delicious!
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A barbecue sauce with a lot of sugar and salt is a telltale sign that it isn’t healthy. If it’s sugar intake you’re worried about, look for sauces with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Eating too much sugar on a regular basis can lead to health complications, including heart disease and diabetes. Remember, the ideal daily sugar intake is between 25 and 38 grams!
Sodium is another nutrient that you should watch when shopping around for the right barbecue sauce. Some sauces have 300 to 400 milligrams of sodium per serving. However, an ideal diet allows between 1,500 and 2,000 grams a day; if you’re worried about your blood pressure, try to go for a sauce with no more than 250 mg per 2 tbsp serving.
While there are plenty of barbecue sauces that have high amounts of sugar and sodium, there are some that provide good nutritional value to your diet. Some barbecue sauces have Vitamin A and calcium, both vital to your overall health.
It's important to always read labels before buying food, especially when it comes to sauces. Sugar, sodium, and chemicals can easily be added to BBQ sauces without you even realizing it.
Make it a habit to read labels and be aware of what your food is actually made of. With healthier versions of BBQ sauces that are low in sugar and sodium, you can easily swap out your unhealthy BBQ sauce for a healthy one.
Look for ingredients like tomato sauce, ketchup, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, ground mustard, and lemon juice–all-natural ingredients that you can find in your kitchen.
While there are ingredients you should look for in a healthy barbecue sauce, there are also ingredients you should avoid. If you check the ingredients in many barbecue sauces, you’ll notice high-fructose corn syrup near the top of most lists.
High-fructose corn syrup means a lot of added sugars; the higher it is on the ingredient list, the more of it there is. Molasses, while a natural ingredient, is also full of unhealthy sugars and is a popular ingredient in barbecue sauces.
The fewer the ingredients the better. And preferably ingredients you actually know and can pronounce! Make sure to look them up online and take charge of what ingredients are being put in your body, so that the next time you come across the ingredient you know whether to stay away from it or whether it's okay to consume.
Be careful to avoid unnatural sweeteners like corn syrup. If you want a sweet barbecue sauce, check to make sure all-natural sugar is used instead.
The kind of sugar that’s used can also impact the flavor, with artificial sweeteners often being very intense if there is too much in a sauce. A natural sugar will give it a nice flavor balance while also being a healthier option.
BBQ sauce is a great way to spice up a boring dish so don't be afraid to explore and try new flavors. It's always a great way to flavor vegetables so they are even more enjoyable for your family.
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Original Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce
A Smokey, Low-Cost, Low-Sugar Sauce
Carolina Bold Barbeque Sauce
A Barbecue Sauce With the Zest of Apple Cider Vinegar
Bone Suckin' Sauce
Thicker Style Sauce
A Thick, Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce
Old No.7 Brand Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
A Spicy Barbecue Sauce With Vitamins and Minerals
Organic Carolina Kick BBQ Sauce
Low-Calorie and Sugar-Free Sauce
Sensuous Slathering Sauce (2 pack)
Mighty Barbecue Flavor and a Scattering of Micro-Nutrients
Guy's Award Winning BBQ Sauce
Original Sugar-Free Sauce
Sugar-Free for an Extra-Healthy Sauce
Jack Daniel's is great at making much more than just whiskey. This barbeque sauce features brown sugar as its main ingredient--which means it's not exactly low-sugar--but it doesn't contain a drop of high fructose corn syrup. Plus, this sauce is made in small batches, meaning you're only getting the authentic stuff!
You'll also get some of your daily calcium and potassium out of this formula. If Sweet & Spicy isn't your thing, there are also Original and Honey flavors to choose from!
Now that you've gotten the basic information about how to choose a barbeque sauce down, expert Kara Swanson has a few more tips to add into the mix about sauce formulas and making healthy swaps.
Chemicals seem to be added into everything these days but don't be fooled - they do nothing good for our health. When you start choosing foods without chemicals - as they should be, they will naturally have a shorter shelf life. Just make sure you read the expiration date and plan meals accordingly so you can use up all of the BBQ sauce to avoid waste.
Also be aware that healthier BBQ sauces might taste a little bit different without all the added sugars, sodium, and chemicals. Be patient though, because your taste buds will adapt and change as you continue making healthier swaps. It takes some time for our bodies and taste buds to get used to less sugar and sodium, but the healthier swap is worth it for your health.
No. 1: Stubb's | Original Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce
No. 2: Bone Doctors' | Carolina Bold Barbeque Sauce
No. 3: Bone Suckin' Sauce | Thicker Style Sauce
No. 4: Jack Daniel's | Old No.7 Brand Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
No. 5: Simple Girl | Organic Carolina Kick BBQ Sauce
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