We all have our favorite condiments. We keep buying the same ones because, well, they're our favorites. Of course, many of us skip reading the ingredients or nutrition label. Why? Because we don't want to see what's in there.
Give your condiments a healthy makeover
Do we have to give up eating tartar sauce, ketchup, or mayonnaise in order to eat healthy? Perhaps not. Let's take a look at some of the well-loved condiments found in most kitchens, and a few alternatives so you can enjoy your favorite condiments without quite so much guilt.
This is one of those convenience foods that everyone knows is unhealthy, but everybody loves. We dip our fries, cover our hamburgers, and drown our meatloaf in ketchup. Can we choose something else? Yes. Most ketchup is made with a base of tomato paste. Thin a can of tomato paste with a little water and apple cider vinegar, mix in some sprinkles of dry mustard, cumin, cinnamon, and salt until you get the consistency and taste you like. Keep this in the refrigerator for the next time you get the urge for ketchup. Of course, you can add as much salt and sugar as you like; the object is that YOU get to decide how much. You are also eliminating the preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.
Here's another all time favorite convenience food. If we mix it into our macaroni salads and slather it on our sandwiches, we know what we're eating; and it's not healthy for us. Yes, you can buy low fat varieties, but you're still left with sugars and preservatives. How can you easily grab a substitute? With a few simple ingredients including yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and egg, you can create a mayonnaise that is tasty and healthier. Keep it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it without sabotaging your healthy diet.
What's a healthier alternative for yellow mustard? This is actually a trick question since yellow mustard right out of the jar or squeeze bottle is just about as healthy as you can get in a condiment. Fat free, gluten free, virtually no sugar or salt, this is one condiment you can eat in good conscience. As a matter of fact, consider switching sandwich spreads from mayonnaise to yellow mustard.
When the second ingredient in a packaged food is high fructose corn syrup, you know you're off to a bad start. This condiment is supposed to be tangy, spicy, and a tiny bit sweet. You can mix together a simple sauce with ingredients you probably already have, minus the corn syrup. Just whisk together a blend of tomato paste, horseradish, and garlic. Sweeten it with a drop of molasses, and add tangy flavor with lemon juice and white vinegar. You can skip ingesting almost a quarter's worth of a day's allowance of salt, along with skipping the preservatives. Keep a bottle of this in your refrigerator and you'll never miss the additives one bit.
This condiment is all about a nice tangy flavor. But, do you need all those calories and fat to get good taste? Even if you limit your serving to two tablespoons, depending on the brand of tartar sauce, you are ingesting around 130 calories just from fat. So, you want tangy flavor without all the fat? Try yogurt. Leave yogurt draining overnight through cheesecloth in a container in the refrigerator. To make tartar sauce, mix some relish or pickles, chopped fine, and flavorings like dried mustard, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper into the thickened yogurt. Adjust the flavorings to your liking and enjoy with your favorite grilled fish.
This is a relative newcomer in the condiment regulars, but it's becoming more and more popular, what with people making more tacos, wraps, and huevos rancheros at home. Jarred taco sauce tends to be high in sodium, but relatively low in calories. This is a condiment that you can probably make a bit healthier, but it may not be worth the effort. However, once you get a good recipe together for taco sauce, you can tweak it a tiny bit to make great salsas as well. A simple taco sauce would include ingredients like tomato paste, vinegar, onion, green chilies, paprika, garlic, and lemon juice. Add a little sweetness if you like with a drizzle of honey.
Reaching for condiments is such a habit for most of us, we never think twice. We all have our favorites, and that's where the problem usually starts. With a few simple recipes made from ingredients you have handy, you can create condiments just as tasty as the prepackaged kinds, only healthier, and maybe even better.