Why you should eat more of it

That’s right – it’s the day to celebrate that 1kg tub of deliciously creamy hummus sitting in your fridge at home. Our resident dietitian Melissa Meier gives her  verdict.

In honour of International Hummus Day, I thought it was only fitting to share everything I love, as a dietitian and foodie, about this delicious, nutritious dip. I always have a tub (or two or three…) sitting in my fridge, and I think you should too. Here’s why.

1. It’s packed with all the good stuff

Chickpeas, olive oil and tahini are three of the star ingredients that form smooth n’ creamy hummus – and each of them in their own right are oh-so-good for you.

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As part of the legume family, chickpeas are something we could all do with eating more of. These plant-based packages of goodness offer plenty of hunger-busting protein, gut-loving fibre and low-GI carbs to keep blood sugars balanced.

Eating legumes like chickpeas (as well as beans and lentils) has been linked to plenty of health benefits, too, like a longer life and reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. They also count as veggies. #Winning.

Another staple in my kitchen, olive oil is full of healthy monounsaturated fats that are good for your ticker. It’s the staple fat in the Mediterranean Diet, which has a loooong list of associated health perks, like reduced incidence of heart disease and improved brain health.

If you buy the extra virgin variety, it’s also chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants called phenolic compounds that defend against free radicals.

Last but not least, tahini is another superstar when it comes to heart healthy fats. Made from powerhouse sesame seeds, tahini also provides plenty of micronutrients, including iron for oxygen transport and calcium and magnesium for strong, healthy bones.

2. It’s inexpensive, especially if you DIY

Depending on the brand and size of the tub you buy, hummus can cost anywhere from $2 to $9 a pop. If you’re into maths, that could be as little as 18 cents a serve (one tablespoon) – so it’s already a pretty thrifty shopping trolley staple.

For an even cheaper choice, you could DIY hummus with the ingredients listed above, along with some lemon juice and garlic. Not only will you save some coin, you’ll also save yourself the sodium that some supermarket brands contain a little too much of.

3. It’s versatile

The obvious way to enjoy hummus is with crackers or veggie sticks. That’s one of my go-to recommendations when I’m asked about healthy snacking. There is, however, *so* much more you can do with hummus than just serve it as a simple dip.

You can spread it on a burger or wrap… you can toss it through pasta… you can dollop it on a buddha bowl… you can whisk it into a salad dressing… you can use it on the base of a pizza… the opportunities are endless, so put on your thinking cap and get creative in the kitchen this International Hummus Day, knowing you’ll be doing something good for your health and your taste buds.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.