Condiments: How to Pick the Healthiest Options

Condiments: How to Pick the Healthiest Options

We all like to eat tasty foods. Sometimes, dishes need a little dab or sprinkle of something extra to boost the taste a bit, and some condiments are better for you than others.

We’re looking for flavor, not bad fat, sugar, or calories.

Look for Healthy Fats

Not all fat is bad fat. Extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed nut and seed oils, and avocado are good fats. That means things like guacamole, pesto, and hummus can be good items to add to foods. Just make sure they’re made with the good stuff, with no words you can’t pronounce listed as ingredients.

The Basics

Ketchup and mustard can be good for you. When looking for ketchups, try to find ones without a lot of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or salt. The lycopene from the tomatoes is an antioxidant.

As for mustard, look for varieties that are not highly processed since the seeds are filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Be on the lookout for sodium and sugar hidden in the mustard. Watch out for honey and sweeteners since this can add calories.

Barbecue sauce is also a good way to add flavor. As with ketchup, look out for sugar, salt, and preservatives. Black pepper can also add a bit of spice to any dish and can help with digestion. Hot sauces are usually pepper-based and often have very few calories but they can have a bunch of sodium in them, so read labels carefully. A combination of peppers, spices, and vinegar are good ingredients.

Asian Flavors

Korean staple kimchi is getting more and more popular. The fermented cabbage in it adds a ton of flavor to dishes. When buying kimchi, watch out for MSG. Sriracha is another way to pack a big flavor punch into a small package. But watch out. As with other condiments, there can be a lot of sugar and salt hidden in the bottle.

Teriyaki sauce, tamari, and soy sauce can be healthy as long as you look at the ingredients. Low-sodium varieties might be a good place to start. Soy sauce often has wheat in it while tamari is just soybeans, so if gluten is a problem, avoid soy sauce and some teriyaki sauces.

Hoisin sauce is a bit like barbecue sauce and combines sweet, salty, and sour flavors. Again, watch out for hidden sodium.

Other Flavor Boosters

Sauerkraut is fermented like kimchi and has healthy bacteria in it that is good for your gut and digestive system. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and is part of many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods. It makes a good base for hummus, salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces.

Northern African foods often contain harissa, a red paste of hot peppers, spices, garlic, and olive oil. Use it like ketchup, but maybe use less of it since it’s spicy. Salsa can also be good condiment to flavor foods. Read labels to watch out for sodium, trans fats, and preservatives.

Many of these condiments are easy to make at home with simple ingredients. That way, you can get the flavor without the added sugar, salt, or preservatives. A healthy diet is part of a healthy lifestyle along with exercise. If the exercise part has you feeling a bit of pain, the professionals at Flexogenix can help with non-surgical solutions. Contact us today.

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