Condiments: 5 Healthy Swaps to Cut Fat, Sugar and Salt
By Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND
Did you know that you can wreck an otherwise healthy meal by adding just a tablespoon of your favorite condiment? These additions may seem harmless, but many condiments are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats or salt.
But don’t worry. You won’t have to eat flavorless sandwiches or salads. Here are five popular condiments with some suggestions for healthier, more delectable alternatives. (You might also be interested in the article, “7 of the Worst Foods for Heart Health.”)
Try instead: Hummus
Just one tablespoon of mayonnaise contains nearly 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, and very few beneficial nutrients. Instead, try hummus, a delicious, creamy spread made from chickpeas and other good-for-you ingredients like olive oil and garlic. Hummus packs protein and fiber and typically contains about 25 calories and just 1.5 grams of mostly healthy fats per tablespoon.
Try instead: Homemade salsa
Ketchup is just processed tomatoes, right? Wrong. While tomato paste is an ingredient, many ketchups contain surprising amounts of sugar and salt. Instead of ketchup, opt for a fresh homemade salsa to add flavor to a turkey burger or grilled sandwich. Not only will it have a fresher flavor, but you’ll also be getting the benefit of nutrients from colorful fruits and vegetables, with no added sugar.
Avoid: Soy Sauce
Try instead: Low sodium soy sauce
While soy sauce can add a huge flavor punch to foods, just one tablespoon of this salty sauce contains about 36 percent of the recommended daily intake of sodium. Choose low-sodium soy sauce instead, which contains around 40 percent less sodium. While that’s a big improvement, even the low-sodium variety packs a fair amount of sodium, so use sparingly.
Avoid: Barbeque sauce
Try instead: Herbs and spices
Barbeque sauce is popular on grilled foods, but many commercial sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, sodium and preservatives. Try adding flavor to grilled meats by marinating your lean proteins in citrus juices, herbs and garlic.
Avoid: Ranch, thousand island or bleu cheese dressing
Try instead: Balsamic vinegar with Italian herbs and chopped tomatoes
Certain salad dressings—particularly commercially made ones—can ruin your salad with excess fat, sodium and sugar. Instead, make an easy dressing by marinating chopped tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and Italian herbs for about 30 minutes; you can add a little olive oil, if you’d like. If you’re at a restaurant, opt for vinaigrette. And if you can’t give up your salad dressing, ask for it on the side, and dip your fork in the dressing for a small taste with each bite.
What other condiments do you avoid? What are your favorite healthy alternatives?
Herbalife Director of Nutrition Training, Susan Bowerman, is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Since 2003, Susan has brought her wide-ranging expertise in nutrition and her enthusiasm for healthy cooking to Herbalife – and helps to spread the word that good health and delicious food go hand-in-hand.