Condiments taste so good, but they can also be a huge source of excess calories, unhealthy fats and added sugars. If you are looking to remove processed foods from your life and give your pantry a healthy makeover, there are some condiments you should reach for over others. Here are 13 healthy condiments that you can eat with peace of mind:
High-quality olive oil is very rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce cell damage and fight inflammation. To get the most benefits from your olive oil, look for premium products that are not adulterated with other types of oils, which is a common strategy in cheaper brands.
Pesto is a delicious sauce made of fresh basil leaves, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts all blended together. Pesto is a good source of zinc as well as healthy fats. It can be used as a sauce for pasta, spread on bread or crackers or used to marinate chicken.
Salsa is incredibly low calorie but still packs an enormous punch of flavor. As a result, it is the perfect condiment whenever you need to add a little bite to your food without piling on the calories. Look for a salsa that is low in sugars and sodium for the healthiest results.
Mustard is usually made from mustard seeds, distilled vinegar, garlic powder, turmeric, lemon juice and salt. Depending on the recipe, it can be quite low calorie. Due to the presence of turmeric, it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Hummus is created by pureeing chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt together to get a spreadable texture. It is high in protein, thanks to the chickpeas, and also contains fiber, which helps you to feel full for longer and promotes regular bowel movements.
Like hummus, guacamole involves pureeing, though this time the ingredients are avocado, onion, garlic, lime juice and salt. Avocados are high in healthy fats as well as fiber and other nutrients. Spread guacamole on bread or sandwiches, or use it in place of salad dressing.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is high in protein and calcium. Look for plain low-fat or no-fat versions, which will be lower in sugar and calories. Plain yogurt can be flavored with fruit or honey, and it actually makes a great substitute for sour cream as well.
Nuts are high in protein and magnesium, making them a great source of plant-based protein. Nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter can be used to make a sandwich or spread on crackers to add a protein boost to your meal or snack.
Forget sugar! Use raw honey to sweeten your food instead. Honey is rich in antioxidants, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties. Look for minimally processed honey that is organic or (even better) raw to make sure that it maintains as many antioxidants as possible.
Fruity vinegars such as balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar can add a lot of flavor to food without many calories. Balsamic vinegar is rich in polyphenol antioxidants that may help protect against cell damage and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast used to add flavor in cooking (as opposed to leavening baked goods). It contains large amounts of vitamin b12. It has a savory flavor that adds a cheese-like taste to dishes without dairy products, so it is a great addition to vegan diets.
Lemon and lime juice
If you are not adding lemon or lime juice to your food, you are really missing out. These natural fruit juices are super low in calories, making them a perfect way to add a bit of a tang to meats, soups, salad dressing and more.
Similar to soy sauce, tamari has a thicker texture and a darker color. It also contains more protein than soy sauce, an added plus. Tamari is almost always gluten-free, whereas soy sauce may not be – an added bonus for those looking to cut back on their gluten intake.
Condiments add flavor to food and increase our enjoyment of dining, but they can heap on the calories and unnecessary artificial ingredients. Try this list of 13 healthy condiments if you need to spruce up your condiment consumption in a healthy way.