The Scoop on Condiments

Condiments enhance your food. You can use condiments to transform foods from a bland and plain taste to a rich and delicious flavor. Usually when you think of condiments, ketchup, mustard and mayo come to mind. However, condiments consist of any seasoning, spice or sauce that you add to your food to enrich its flavor after it has been prepared.

Condiments That You Sprinkle On

Common universal condiments are salt, pepper and sugar. Many cultures place sugar dispensers and salt and pepper shakers on the dining table for you to adjust the food to your liking. These condiments can make a difference between enjoying a meal and finding it completely tasteless.

The key is to use these substances, particularly salt and sugar, in moderation. Heavy salt usage can lead to hypertension. Sugar, when used excessively, adds extra calories to your diet and may lead to tooth decay, weight issues and other health issues, such as diabetes.

Examples of condiments used by various cultures include garlic powder and curry powder. Garlic powder may be mixed with olive oil and used for dipping bread. Some people sprinkle it on pizza after it has been prepared. Curry powder is made of a mixture of red pepper, turmeric, cumin and coriander. It may also contain other ingredients such as garlic, ginger or cinnamon. It is usually cooked into foods but is also sprinkled on salads or potatoes to spice them up.

Condiments That You Pour On

Sauces that you add to foods after they are already cooked are considered condiments. The ketchup you add to your fries and hamburgers, your salad dressings, the tartar sauce for your fish and the soy sauce you add to your chicken chow mein are all examples of condiments.

While condiments are generally considered taste enhancers, they can also add nutrition and make the difference between a low and high calorie meal. If you are focused on losing weight, you can cut calories from your diet and add nutrients by adjusting the amount of the condiments you use and choosing healthier options.

For example, in place of high fat and high calorie salad dressings, you could choose olive oil, vinegar and lemon, or a dressing made with a low-fat base such as plain yogurt. These options are not only lower in calories, they add vitamins and healthier fats to your meal. Be sure to also read the ingredient labels of ready-made condiments and choose options that are lower in sugar, salt and chemical additives.

With regards to condiment amounts, more is not always more. Sometimes less is more. You have probably eaten foods sprinkled with too much salt, sugar or other condiments and found them nearly impossible to enjoy. Use spices, sauces and seasonings in just the right amounts to draw out the flavor of foods. When used in this way, condiments truly enhance your meals and add to its nutrition, leaving you feeling healthier and more satisfied after every meal.  


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