By Jon Yaneff
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
There’s literally no need to sugarcoat it — condiments aren’t the best idea for a healthy lifestyle. Craving flavor in your food is natural, but adding sodium, sugar, calories and fat are poor decisions for your dietary health. Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?
What will you put on your sandwich? What will you drizzle over your salad? Where will you dip your chip?
When you look at the ingredient list of your store-bought condiments, you’ll see that there’s a large list of genetically modified foods within every bite you take, as well as preservatives, processed ingredients and refined sugars. So it’s best to avoid common condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise. It’s just not worth the hassle.
What are some healthier and equally tasty condiment replacements for your meal or snack? Natural herbs and spices are good to add flavor to your meal, but how about for spreading, dipping, or dressing up your favorite foods?
Here are five natural condiment suggestions that you can purchase from reliable health food stores, or which you can easily make yourself.
Condiments for the Health Conscious:
Hummus has three main ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. This creamy spread contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve intelligence and maintain a healthy heart. Sounds like a smart, heart-felt choice! Feel good about dipping your veggies into hummus, as it also has iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid, and amino acids. This dip is loaded with nutrients.
This Middle Eastern purée consists of three main ingredients: eggplant, sesame tahini, and lemon juice, which makes this spread rich in protein, fiber, vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin A, and the B vitamins thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin) and minerals. Like hummus, baba ghanoush is great for vegetarians. The unsaturated fats in both dips are contributing factors to good heart health, lowering cholesterol and inflammation.
Nut and seed butters:
Choosing natural peanut butter is a good choice, as there are far more additives (salt, sugar and dextrose) in manufactured, poor-quality peanut butters. A popular and healthy peanut butter alternative is almond butter, which is known for lowering blood pleasure and controlling blood sugar. It is a very heart-smart choice. It can also help control your weight, and it’s rich in antioxidants. Other nut and seed butters, including cashew butter and sunflower seed butter, are also great options. Try them on crackers or bread.
Natural mayo substitutes:
There are alternatives to mayonnaise that don’t contain eggs or soy and are GMO-free. An example is “Vegenaise” from Follow Your Heart that has vegan-based mayo substitutes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, cholesterol-free, Kosher, and certified organic. These are definitely health-conscious choices, freeing you from preservatives. Spread these mayo substitutes on your wrap or sandwich.
Natural salad dressings:
A combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and apple cider vinegar make for an easy and nutritious addition to your greens and veggies. Tossing in natural spices, such as oregano and basil, are also great options for this dressing. For a hint of sweetness, try adding a dollop of nutrient-rich honey to this salad dressing.
Note: If you do buy these items from the store, make sure they are GMO-free.
- “5 Health Benefits of Hummus,” 3 Fat Chicks on a diet! web site, August 30, 2010; http://www.3fatchicks.com/5-health-benefits-of-hummus/.
- “What is Vegenaise ®?” wiseGeek web site, http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-vegenaise.htm.
- “5 Health Benefits of Almond Butter,” 3 Fat Chicks on a diet! web site, September 20, 2010; http://www.3fatchicks.com/5-health-benefits-of-almond-butter/.
- “Products,” http://followyourheart.com/products/original-3/.
- Kerns, M., “Nutrient Facts of Baba Ghanoush,” SFGate web site; http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrient-baba-ghanoush-1710.html
Previous articles by Jon Yaneff:
- 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Kale
- Healthy Recipe For Eggplant and Quinoa Salad
- 5 Superfoods from Ancient Cultures
- 5 Healthy Chip Alternatives
- 4 Reasons Why Eating Lunch at Your Desk is Hurting Your Health
About the author:
As a former sports reporter with a community newspaper group, an industrialized and fast food lifestyle was Jon’s constant companion. Having left his position, he has undergone massive changes in his life over the past couple of years. He is now open to everything, trying every new thing that he feels can benefit him in the long run. He has adopted yogic, spiritual, holistic and vegetarian lifestyles, finding peace and allowing him to spread that peace to others through his words. He also has a blog geared toward health, well-being and a conscious lifestyle at WellBeing Stadium.
Jon Yaneff appears courtesy of foods4betterhealth.com.