Hot dogs and sausage tend to contain lots of sodium (520-680 milligrams per 2-ounce serving) and fat (up to 23 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fat per serving). Most Americans take in more than double the recommended amount of sodium, according to the CDC.
It’s a good idea to substitute leaner and lower-sodium meats — such as roasted skinless poultry, pork tenderloin, and roast beef — and fish and seafood for frankfurters and sausage in meals and recipes. Even grilled vegetables such as portabella mushrooms, eggplant, or roasted red pepper will often suffice.
But if it’s got to be a frankfurter or sausage, consider the lower-fat and nitrate-free options available in most supermarkets, such as “light” franks, turkey kielbasa, or soy-based sausage substitutes. They may not be much lower in sodium than traditional products, but the amounts of total and saturated fat are often cut in half.
6. Whole-Milk Products
While dairy products contain protein, calcium, B-12, and riboflavin, whole-milk products also have ample amounts of fat and cholesterol. If you drink 16 ounces of whole milk a day, for example, it adds up to 1,904 calories, 105 grams of total fat, 59.5 grams of saturated fat, and 315 milligrams of cholesterol in a week’s time.
The good news is that lower-fat options are available for most dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cream cheese.
7. Gourmet Ice Cream
In many an American freezer, you’ll find a pint of gourmet ice cream or a box of decadent ice cream bars.
Even if you stick to the modest 1/2-cup serving size suggested on the container, it can send your daily totals of saturated fat, total fat, and calories into overload.
A serving of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, for example, has 270 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, and 25 of grams sugar. One-half cup of Haagen-Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle will give you 310 calories, 18 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, and 28 grams of sugar. And a more typical serving for most people is one cup, which doubles the totals for fat, calories, cholesterol, and sugar.
Instead, try some of the great-tasting lower-fat, lower-sugar, and lower-calorie ice cream options you can find in any supermarket. The light version of Safeway brand Mint Chocolate Chip, for example, has 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 14 grams of sugar for a 1/2-cup serving. For an even healthier dessert, enjoy some fresh fruit with plain or nonfat Greek yogurt.
8. Creamy Salad Dressing
How many bottles of creamy salad dressing are sitting in your refrigerator? The standard refrigerator fare includes ranch, Thousand Island, and/or blue cheese.
Each two-tablespoon serving of these traditional creamy dressings adds about 120 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, and 380 milligrams of sodium to your salad. Here’s the worst part though: most people drizzle on double this amount of dressing (1/4 cup).
So aim for downsizing to a two-tablespoon serving. You might also find some lighter dressings that you enjoy.
9. Stick Butter or Margarine
If it can hold its shape in stick form, your butter or margarine is probably high in saturated fat, because it’s the saturated fat that makes fats more solid at room temperature. In years past, most margarine also contributed high amounts of unhealthy trans fat, though many have been reformulated.
It’s easier to use more stick margarine or butter than you think because its firm texture makes it difficult to spread lightly on food. And each tablespoon will give you 100 calories and 11 grams of fat. Butter has 7 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon; stick margarines have 2 grams saturated fat and 1.5 to 2.5 grams trans fats per tablespoon.
Switching to canola oil or olive oil in your cooking and baking when possible is the best option because these fats are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fat. But if you need a spreadable fat on the table or in a recipe, try a reduced-fat margarine in a tub with no trans fat and low amounts of saturated fat. If only butter will do, use whipped butter instead. It’s easier to spread lightly, and cuts the calories, fat, and saturated fat by a third.
10. Frozen French Fries
Potato side dishes such as hash browns, French fries or tater tots are popular accompaniments for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many American freezers have a bag of frozen potato products ready to bake with a moment’s notice.
Just one small serving (3 ounces) of some popular potato products — such as criss-cut French fries, tater tots, or curly fries — contain 8 to11 grams of total fat, around 3 grams of saturated fat, 390 to 540 milligrams of sodium, and about 160-190 calories. And many potato lovers eat double this amount in one sitting.
Your best bet is to eat unprocessed potatoes, such as baked potatoes or roasted red potatoes, because they give you all the nutrients of potatoes without added fat, saturated fat, or sodium. Some frozen hash browns contain no added fat, so look for zero-fat grams on the label. If you need frozen French fries, the steak fries are often the lowest-fat option, but check the label to be sure.