B(u)y the Bottle: BBQ Sauce Edition

Sometimes it's easier to stock up on a few bottled barbeque sauces, but the endless options could make your head spin. Here's how to tell what goes in the chart and what stays on the shelf.

Related To:

Of course, the healthiest choice is to make your own, but sometimes it's easier to stock up on a few bottled BBQ sauces. The endless options could make your head spin. Here's how to tell what goes in the cart and what stays on the shelf.

The Salt & Sugar

Packaged and restaurant food accounts for more than 75% of the sodium we eat daily. The American Medical Association estimates we'd save 150,000 lives each year if we cut 50% of the salt from our diets. Get started by checking the sodium levels in your sauces. Try to skip anything with more than 500 milligrams per serving.

Sugar is the second issue. When I started researching pre-made BBQ sauces, I found high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as the main ingredient on many. Here's a tip on label reading: items listed first are heaviest by weight. If HFCS is the first or second ingredient in your sauce, that means there’s a heck of a lot of it.

Even if you don’t find HFCS, most sauces are sweetened with something. Molasses or honey (or both) are two other common sweeteners; you may also find brown rice syrup. A little sweetness is okay, but you don’t want a sauce that could double as dessert. I usually look for 15 grams of sugar or less.

Compare Labels

A label's typical serving is 2 tablespoons. On different brands, I found calories ranged from 25 to 100 per serving. Sugar ranged from 4 to 12 grams per serving and sodium ranged from 190 to 510 milligrams (8% to 21% of your recommended daily intake).

You can find low-calorie versions that have minimal sodium. EatingWell, one of our favorite magazines, taste-tested several popular brands and picked Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering Sauce as tops. It only has 25 calories, no fat, 5 grams of sugar (from brown sugar) and 240 milligrams of sodium per serving (10% of your daily needs) -- definitely a good choice.

Other Healthy Options
Here are some brands we like:
Or Make Your Own
Recipes to try:
TELL US: Do you have a favorite store-bought brand?

Next Up

When It Comes to Healthier Grilling, How to Tame the Flames and More

Is it possible to fire up the grill without flaring up the health risks? Yes, indeed. Here's a refresher course on healthy grilling practices.

Is Liquid Smoke Safe to Eat?

For the record, no, it's not the same as eating burnt food.

Spotlight Recipe: "Old Bay" Grilled Steak Fries

Doctored up with a spice mix that echoes Old Bay's flavor, these steak fries are an easy side for your next cookout.

Spotlight Recipe: Fish Tacos with Chili Mayo & Grilled Corn

Just because it's got mayonnaise and a Mexican flair doesn't mean it's heavy dish -- this whole meal weighs in at only 360 calories and less than 10 grams of fat.

Memorial Day Treats - Catch Us On TV!

We appeared on Good Morning America Health to talk about healthy grilling and prepping some deliciously fresh dishes. Here are the recipes we made.

Garlicky Grilled Romaine

Garlic Grilled Romaine is easy to make and can be jazzed up with a variety of flavors like lemon and chili.

Calling for Rain? Bring the Cookout Indoors

Sometimes a rainy day can put a damper on your grilling or picnic plans. Don't cancel the party -- remember this tips for bringing your cookout indoors.

Food Network Magazine’s Grilling Poll

Food Network Magazine wants to know how America grills.

Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Take your grilled steak to the next level with this top-rated marinade.