Shari Duncan

Pass the Hummus. Hold the Mayo , Please.

by on Aug.13, 2010, under General Nutrition

Fries dipped in ketchup … potato salad drenched in mayonnaise … and ribs smothered with barbecue sauce … You love it;  your waistline, not so much.

Maybe it’s time to downsize.

Dressings, dips, and sauces can be a big downfall when we are trying to cut back and eat a little cleaner. Ketchup, & steak and barbeque sauces are loaded with sugar.  Mayonnaise, sour cream  and salad dressings can be high in saturated fats. It’s  time to open your mind (and taste buds!) to these heart healthy alternatives.   These dips and spreads also add inventive flavors to everyday sandwiches, wraps and burgers.

Here are a few to try:


- The Fresh Veggie alternative to Ketchup

- The Fresh Veggie alternative to Ketchup

Salsa has the few calories, but salsa preparations can vary widely. A good salsa made with tomatoes, and without too much added sugar, can be treated as a vegetable: it has no fat, lotsof fiber, and many other nutrients.

  • Replace salsa for higher fat/carb salad dressings for a delicious taco salad.
  • Use as topping for baked potatoes
  • In place of mayo, ketchup on burgers and wraps.  (Turkey,chicken, beef or fish)
  • Stir into scrambled eggs or omelets.


Incorporate hummus as part of your balanced diet. Hummus is basically pureed garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Garbanzo beans contain many nutrients and have numerous health benefits.  They are high in protein and fiber.  An ounce of hummus has 7% of your daily fiber.  This high fiber also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, which is especially important to diabetics.

Chickpeas themselves are relatively low in fat, but the presence of olive oil boosts the fat content in hummus. Olive oil, however, is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type that is heart healthy. Thus, not only does olive oil contribute its unique flavor to hummus, it also imparts significant health benefits relative to creamy or other high-fat alternatives.

Hummus is easy to make at home as well. If you have a food processor, throw a can of garbanzo beans in it with a little lemon juice, olive oil and garlic and you are done.  You can be

Made from heart healthy chickpeas. Available in many unique flavors

Made from heart healthy chickpeas. Available in many unique flavors

creative too.  Try adding a few roasted red peppers or jalapenos for more kick or a few canned artichokes.

At least one popular commercial brand lists a serving size as 2 tbsp. or 27 grams, an amount that contains 50 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein.


If you love fatty, creamy, hearty foods and want to avoid the cholesterol and toxicity of meat and dairy, anchor your diet with avocado.  Avocados contain 60% more potassium than bananas; they are also sodium and cholesterol-free.  An avocado has a higher fat content (5 grams per serving) than other fruit, but the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when consumed in moderation.

  • Avocados can replace butter by using it as a spread on bread.
  • Use as healthy dip or dressing for veggies and salads.
  • Replace sliced avocados for mayo on burgers, sandwiches and wraps.


This condiment is hard to beat because it has minimal calories and fat, but the sodium can add up quickly by the teaspoon.

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (5 calories, 0.2g fat, 120 mg sodium)
  • yellow mustard (3 calories, 0.2g fat, 57 mg sodium.)

When purchasing ketchup, mayo, salad dressings and barbecue sauces; choose lower sodium / lower fat versions and downsize the amounts added to recipes.

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