For the vast majority of people, condiments are a necessary component to most daily meals. From salad dressings to dipping sauces, condiments are generally used out of habit and without much thought. Can the condiments that you are using be making your dish unhealthy? Because condiments can be loaded with calories, fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol, these “simple additions” can indeed be making your dishes unhealthy. In addition, very few people measure out an exact serving of a particular condiment and end up consuming several servings at once, making what could have been a health-conscious meal unhealthy.
Ketchup is perhaps the most popular condiment among all age groups. It is used as a dipping sauce for hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, meats, etc., and the majority of people consume several servings in one meal. While ketchup is made from tomatoes, and is low in calories and fat free, the problem is that ketchup is very high in sugar and sodium. In just one Tblsp of ketchup, there is 167 mg of sodium and 3.5 grams of sugar! A healthier option would be to purchase low-sodium or sugar-free varieties of ketchup, or make your own.
Mayonnaise is commonly used in the preparation of picnic salads, such as pasta salad , potato salad and dips. It is also a common spread for sandwiches and subs. In addition to other ingredients, mayonnaise is composed of oil, vinegar, lemon juice and egg yolks. In 1 Tblsp of mayonnaise, there are approximately 11 grams of fat, 100 calories and 85 mg of sodium. A healthier option would be non-fat mayonnaise or fat free Greek yogurt.
Because of the low amount of calories, fat, cholesterol and sugar, yellow mustard is often a recommended condiment for those that enjoy dipping sauces or spreads. In 1 tsp of yellow mustard, there are 3 calories, 0.2 grams of fat and 0 grams of sugar. In 1 tsp of yellow mustard, there are 57 mg of sodium.
Ranch dressing is a popular choice for salad dressing, pasta salads and dipping sauces. In 2 Tblsp of a leading manufacturer’s ranch dressing, there are 148 calories, 15.6 grams of fat, 8 mg of cholesterol, 287 mg of sodium and 1.2 grams of sugar. Most people use more than 2 Tblsp of dressing on their salad, which quickly turns what could have been healthy into an unhealthy meal. Any creamy salad dressing is going to be higher in calories and fat, so choosing a vinegar based dressing or purchasing a fat-free version will provide nutritional benefits.
As is the case with ketchup, this popular cookout condiment is loaded with sugar and sodium. While relish in low in calories and fat, the sodium and sugar content make it an unhealthy choice for health conscious individuals. In 1 Tblsp of relish, there are only 20 calories and 0.1 grams of fat. However, there are 122 mg of sodium and 4.4 grams of sugar in the same tablespoon!