Sure, toppings like tomato sauce, mustard and pesto add flavour. But some could be more troublesome than tasty, according to nutritionist Stephanie Malouf.
Adding sauces and toppings to your salads and vegies can be a good way to enhance their flavour – and appeal – but it can also be a nutritional minefield. According to nutritionist Stephanie Malouf, condiments can be loaded with added sugars, preservatives, salt and inflammatory vegetable oils.
“Often adding just one tablespoon of your favourite condiment could impact the nutritional benefits of your meal,” she tells Body+Soul. Here are the ones that are worth the kilojoules, and a few that aren’t.
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Best and worst condiments, according to a nutritionist
This potent paste can be a great way to add flavour (and nutrients) to your meals. “You do need to watch out for added salt and sugars, though, depending on the brand,” tips Malouf.
Even if your bottle of tomato sauce says it’s low in fat, Malouf suggests you still double-check the label, particularly for the sweet stuff. (Which, let’s be honest, is what often makes a dollop on a snag taste so good.) “Many store-bought tomato sauces are loaded with sugar, which can be more harmful to your health,” she warns. “If sugar is one of the first three ingredients listed, leave it on the shelf.”
“Pesto can be healthy or not, depending on the ingredients used,” notes Malouf. While basil and pine nuts are nutritional ingredients, watch out for vegetable oils as well as too much salt.
“Ranch dressing can really undermine the nutritional benefits of a salad and offers no benefits,” Malouf tells Body+Soul. Don’t think you can live without it? Try making your own with Greek yoghurt, garlic and onion powder, salt, dried dill and lemon.
“Gravy can be high in saturated fat, salt, cholesterol and refined carbohydrates,” says Malouf. Make your own healthier version with plant-based stock or bone broth, tamari, tahini and a little wholegrain flour, or look for natural gravy powders with a low salt and fat content.
Follow Stephanie on Instagram @sm_nutrition.