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The Nutrition of Sloppy Joes

Fitday Editor
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A well-liked American dish featured with a variety of recipes, Sloppy Joes are a popular offering in modern American homes and can be created utilizing homemade ingredients or using commercially available sauces. History suggests that the Sloppy Joe recipe can trace its origins to a bar in Key West named Sloppy Joe's Bar, although the legitimacy of this claim has long been disputed.

Sloppy Joes are called by a number of different names around the United States including Taverns, Hot Tamales, Barbecues, Steamers, Wimpies, Yip Yips, Dynamites and Slushburgers and are available on a number of restaurant menus around the country. They are also one of the most popular items served at American barbecues.

Common Ingredients of Sloppy Joes

Most Sloppy Joes contain the same main ingredients even if there are slight variations in the sauce recipe. A Sloppy Joe is a simple presentation with ground beef, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and various spices combined, with the resulting mixture placed on a standard burger bun. Spices in the mixture generally include brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, black pepper, ketchup and brown sugar. A Sloppy Joe is often served with fries or a salad.

Nutritional Value of Sloppy Joes

The nutritional value of a Sloppy Joe often depends on the quality of its ingredients. Generally speaking, a serving of Sloppy Joe mixture (the meat and the sauce) will be around 250 calories, contain 16 grams of fat, and offer almost 60 mg of cholesterol. A serving is generally a half cup of the beef and sauce mixture.

Easily one of the more fatty ingredients in many recipes, the ground beef provides the majority of calories and fat in a Sloppy Joe meal.

Additional calories come from the burger bun on which the Sloppy Joe mixture is placed and the type of bun used can greatly increase the number of calories and fat in a Sloppy Joe meal.

Making Sloppy Joes Healthy

In its traditional state, a Sloppy Joe would never be considered a diet food that might aid a person in his or her weight loss goals, but the concoction can be made less caloric and fatty with a few simple changes in the recipe.

There are two significant methods of reducing the fat and calories of a Sloppy Joe. The first method is using a high grade ground beef that offers a low percentage of fat. This beef will cost more but the lean meat is a healthier option.

Secondly, replacing a standard white bun with a whole wheat alternative can provide increased nutrition from a Sloppy Joe meal. Be sure to carefully read the ingredient lists of store-bought whole wheat buns, however, as items like high fructose corn syrup and enriched flour are sometimes used in company recipes.

When bought from a restaurant or prepared at home with traditional ingredients, a Sloppy Joe contains a high level of fat and calories and without healthy modifications this meal is something to be enjoyed only rarely. Using healthier ingredients is the best way to eat what should always be an occasional meal.

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