Stuck at Home? 6 Good (and bad) Ways to Flavor Your Food
Love it or not, we are all spending a lot more time in our home kitchens.
We get it. Being stuck at home is hard.
Comfort food feels soothing while your self-isolating.
But it’s more important than ever to make healthy food choices.
That’s because the immune system relies on the right nutrients to keep your body healthy and energized.
And there are a few healthy eating swaps you can make that will not only keep the flavor in your food, but also pack in good nutrition.
For instance, take a look at what condiments you use to dress up your favorite dish.
Many of the condiments found in our pantry are loaded with sodium, sugar, and additives. And, they contain excess calories we don’t need and offer little if any, nutrition.
We have a love for condiments, no doubt. If you’re not ready to give them up for fear of dry or bland food, try these 6 healthy condiment alternatives to some of the worst offenders.
6 Condiment Swaps That Are Big On Flavor and Nutrients
- Ditch The Mayo: Smear Avocado Instead
- Toss The Store-Bought Dressing: Try This Homemade Vinaigrette
- Say So Long, Soy Sauce: Get Ready for Coconut Aminos
- Kick Ketchup to the Curb: Make Salsa Your Go-To
- Good Riddance, Relish: Try Sauerkraut for A Change
- Dump The Cheese Sauce: Dip into Hummus
Ditch The Mayo: Smear Avocado Instead
Mayo can add a dose of flavor to your sandwich. Still, that greasy feeling you get in your mouth comes with a lot of extra unnecessary calories.
A single serving of mayo has 90 calories and 10 grams of fat. That’s a lot packed into a small amount. Oh, and take a look at these common ingredients:
- Soybean oil
- Whole eggs and egg yolks
- Lemon juice concentrate
- Calcium disodium
- Natural flavors
Not is it heavy on calories, but it’s not a significant source of any nutrients.
To get more bang for your calorie-buck, swap out mayo for mashed avocado. Using the same amount of avocado cuts your calorie intake in half.
Not only is this healthy fat lower in calories, but it’s also a great source of vitamins E, C, K, and B-6. Avocados are also rich in lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids– and plenty of other minerals to bolster a well-balanced diet.
Blend in your favorite spices with a dash of salt and pepper to add a little kick to your dish.
Toss The Store-Bought Salad Dressing: Try This Homemade Vinaigrette
In the ‘80’s, we had the three standard salad dressing in the fridge: ranch, thousand island, and Italian. Though the store-bought dressing isle has expanded since then, homemade dressings are the way to go.
Not only do homemade dressing taste better, but the ingredients are also clean and simple. Have you read the back of a dressing label? The ingredients list will make your head spin.
Salad dressings are one of the worst offenders when it comes to additives like xanthan gum and modified corn starch. And a single serving makes up more than 20% of your daily recommended fat intake.
That’s a HUGE chunk of your daily fat intake in a single serving.
A dollop of dressing is a great way to enhance salad flavor, and you can make healthy alternatives that cut the calories in half while using simple ingredients.
Like this Homemade Vinaigrette. Once you do, we promise you’ll never want to buy salad dressing again.
¾ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
½ cup organic white vinegar
2 tsp. organic honey
Fresh herbs (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together in a small bowl and let stand for a few minutes. Serve and store in the fridge.
Say So Long, Soy Sauce: Get Ready for Coconut Aminos
Soy sauce is a staple in many of our favorite Asian dishes. I’m guilty of dousing my stir fry in this brown liquid a time or two. However, not all soy sauce is created equal.
Traditional fermentation of soy sauce can take up to eight months, so some companies cut corners by using chemically-driven hydrolyzed soy protein. Even worse, some soy sauce has additives, flavor enhancers, and known carcinogens.
All soy sauce is heavy in histamines, which can trigger allergies. Also, this is not a good condiment for those who need to stay away from gluten, wheat, and soy. If you’re trying to reduce sodium in your diet or stick to the gluten-free, soy-free life, coconut aminos are the perfect substitute.
Coconut aminos is a salty sauce made from the fermented sap of coconut palms. Though it’s a little sweeter and less thick than soy sauce, it surprisingly doesn’t taste like coconut.
As far as sodium goes, coconut aminos has only 90 mg of sodium per teaspoon, while traditional soy sauce has 280 mg.
Kick Ketchup to the Curb: Make Salsa Your Go-To
Though traditional ketchup is a beloved condiment for some favorite foods, it’s loaded with ingredients that aren’t so good for you.
Most ketchup lists its third and fourth ingredients as some type of sugar like high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. Additionally, the distilled vinegar used in many ketchup products is produced using GMO corn.
Ketchup also contains a higher sodium content, which isn’t suitable for those trying to reduce sodium intake.
Salsa is an excellent alternative to ketchup, and it can add a little kick to your dish. Salsa is loaded with healthy veggies, is low calorie, and contains low sugar. You can even make your own salsa and stow it way in the fridge for a few days.
Good Riddance, Relish: Try Sauerkraut for A Change
Though relish may complete your favorite ballpark foods, it has one of the highest sodium contents when it comes to condiments. A single tablespoon of relish contains 230 mg of sodium.
Relish also contains preservatives, natural flavoring, and yellow dye 5– all things you want to keep out of your diet.
If you want to keep that crunch on your plate, swap out relish for sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is loaded with probiotics and vitamins C K12, plus a good dose of fiber.
Dump The Cheese Sauce: Dip into Hummus
It’s no secret that a creamy cheese sauce is loaded with calories. Most cheese sauce recipes call for a healthy dose of cheese, butter, and heavy cream. This can cost you a whopping 90 calories with just two tablespoons.
And don’t get us started on processed cheese. Rather than skipping the dip, try hummus instead.
Hummus is made from chickpeas and tahini, a sesame hull condiment. It also has nutrient-rich ingredients like garlic and lemon juice. This healthy cheese dip alternative has only 25 calories per tablespoon and is chock full of nutrients.
Plus, you can add different spices and flavors to hummus to give it some extra zest. Like this easy Truvani-tested hummus recipe.
Healing Everyday Hummus Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients except the oil in a food processor/blender and blend until combined, scraping the sides as needed.
With the food processor running, slowly add the oil until well combined.
Serve with fresh chopped vegetables or desired accompaniments. Enjoy!
Wrapping It Up
Condiments are a great way to enhance flavors in food. But they also heap onto your plate a lot of unnecessary calories, additives, and sugars.
These six simple healthy condiments swaps will keep your tastebuds happy while giving your nutrition a boost. Bonus: you can ditch the added calories and weird ingredients.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, small changes like this can make a big difference.
Now that you’re upgrading your pantry staples, check out our Organic Daily Turmeric. It’s perfect to flavor your favorite recipes (like our hummus) or take on it’s own. It’s available now, for up to 25% off.”