Calories and fat lurking in your favourite condiments may be ruining your healthy eating habits. But healthy food does not have to be bland. Here are nine delicious condiments you can use to jazz up your food – guilt-free.
Fresh tomato salsa
Mix up some chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, lime juice, garlic and jalapeno peppers and you will get a low-calorie and nutrient-rich sauce. Tomatoes contain a wealth of vitamins that are good for your cardiovascular health. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, tomatoes are also a source of carotenoid, a pigment that has been proven to lower the risk of certain cancers.
Onions and garlic also contain healthy sulphur compounds with an abundance of health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Unlike ketchup, homemade salsa does not have high salt and sugar content, making it the perfect substitute.
Low-fat cottage cheese
The protein-packed cottage cheese contains plenty of essential nutrients your body needs, allowing it to form the basis of any meal. It is not only rich in calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth, it is also jam-packed with other vitamins and minerals. Eat it as a dip or blend it with some low-fat milk and Parmesan cheese for a healthier cream-based pasta sauce.
If you don’t want unhealthy dressings to sabotage the nutritional value of your salad, try tossing your salad in vinegar instead. In a study published by Harvard School of Public Health, a higher intake of oil and vinegar salad dressings lowered the risk of fatal ischemic heart disease. Vinegar is also believed to increase short-term satiety, keeping your stomachs satisfied for longer periods of time to contribute to lower overall food intake.
This Middle Eastern spread is typically made from mashed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon and garlic. Chickpeas are high in fibre, which facilitates digestion for you to feel full faster. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who included pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) in their diets over a period of three weeks lost more weight than those who did not include pulses in their diet.
Rich and creamy, Greek yogurt can be used to replace sour cream. With a similar taste and texture, you will hardly be able to tell the difference. Unlike sour cream, Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins. It is also packed with probiotics that can boost your immune and digestive systems.
Who would have known that the fiery kick you get from Tabasco sauce comes with zero calories and zero grams of fat? While not as nutritionally-rich as its other counterparts, Tabasco sauce has its fair share of health benefits. Tabasco contains capsaicin, a compound that has been linked to weight loss. According to a study by Maastricht University, capsaicin makes individuals feel more satisfied when eating to reduce excessive energy and fat intake.
This sauce is often served with pasta, but beyond that, you can spread it on sandwiches or use it as a salad dressing. Unsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts are considered ‘healthy’ as they are known to reduce cholesterol levels. However, consume pesto in moderation as the calories may add up quickly. The good news – as pesto is so flavourful, you usually need only a tablespoon or less for a flavour kick
Made up primarily of avocado, you can be sure to reap the benefits from this superfruit. Avocados contain large amounts of fibre, which is good for your gut. Like pesto sauce, guacamole provides you with a healthy dose of unsaturated fat. Rich in vitamin C and E, eating guacamole also gives you a vitamin boost. Other than using it as a dip for chips, it can be a nutritious finishing to your sandwiches.
You might be familiar with the rush or burning sensation up your nasal passageways when you eat this condiment. Commonly paired with sushi, it can also be a tantalising dressing for salads and meat. You can also add wasabi to your list of cancer-fighting foods. According to a study by University of Minnesota Cancer Centre, isothiocyanates present in wasabi are effective in fighting lung and oesophageal cancers.
Text: Claudia Tan/Shape