July 3, 2018

Condiments — finding your own “secret sauce”

Contributed by Sue Heikkinen, RD

It wouldn’t be a summer cookout without an array of condiments to squeeze onto your favorite burger or veggie burger. These add-ons can range from nutrition pitfalls to nutrition bonuses. Seemingly innocuous condiments can add unwanted calories, sodium and sugar to your plate. Keep an eye out on portions and try swapping out some of your tried and true condiments for a nutrition and flavor boost.

A dab will do it. Ketchup, mustard and mayo are classic burger toppers. A “standard” serving of mayo or ketchup is only one tablespoon, or only about the size of a poker chip. While mayo has mostly healthy unsaturated fats, at 90 calories in a tablespoon, it sure adds up quickly.

Ketchup is lower in calories, but each tablespoon of ketchup adds the equivalent of a teaspoon of added sugar. The same amount of barbeque sauce can have double this amount.

In comparison, a teaspoon of mustard (about the size of the tip of your thumb) has minimal calories and gets its bright color from turmeric, a spice with anti-inflammatory potential.

Think beyond the squeeze bottle. A spread of hummus or mashed beans can add extra fiber and potassium to your meal.

Guacamole or sliced avocado adds healthy fats to your wrap, sandwich or burger.

While high in calories when dumped on pasta, a spread of pesto adds concentrated flavor and pairs well with grilled portobello mushrooms. Making your own pesto? Try subbing kale, cilantro or mint for basil and try almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds as alternatives to costly pine nuts.

Don’t forget to stock your pantry with other toppers such as balsamic vinegar, balsamic glaze or your favorite hot sauce.

And, enjoy the flavors of the summer by offering one of these healthful options at your next cookout:

Roasted red pepper and almond dip

Grilled peach salsa