Condiments are great because they take a simple dish and turn it into an extraordinary one by adding just a touch of flavor. And while I love a good condiment, some of them add unnecessary amounts of sugar or calories to your daily food intake. So which ones should be your go-to choices when cooking or dipping your favorite foods? Is dijon mustard healthy? Can all mustards be treated the same?
We explore which condiments get you the most flavor while still staying in the window of “healthy” and whether it matters which mustard you choose. As we always like to remind everyone, the definition of healthy looks different for each and every individual. Always do your own research, listen to your body and incorporate balance into your eating habits!
The 7 best condiments - ranked
Our definition of condiments here is anything that can be added to a dish to help improve the flavor or taste.
* This is a purely opinion based ranking. Each condiment is ranked based on personal flavor preference, as well as how “healthy” (or not) the condiment may be. *
Whatever variation of mustard is out there, I’m a fan of it. Mustard works great as a marinade or dip and mostly every variation of it is low in calories. One serving (1 tsp) of yellow mustard is ZERO calories and has no sugar. While you should be aware of the sodium levels in mustard if consuming large amounts, you still can’t beat the fact that this condiment leaves you with no calories or sugar to think about.
But what about the other mustards? Is dijon mustard healthy? Dijon mustard only goes up a slight amount to 5 calories per serving (1 tsp) so again, that’s an amazing option in my book. Sodium levels in dijon mustard do go up as well so be mindful of that.
Another thing to note is that there can be added sugar to dijon mustard. Because it is towards the end of the ingredient list on the label, we know that this means there is less of a percentage per volume. I assume that the percentage is so low per serving, that this is why no percentage of sugar is listed on the nutrition label. But this shows that reading the nutrition facts alone may not tell the whole story.
All that to say, if you’re wondering if dijon mustard is healthy you are probably safe to say it is.
Pesto is one of those things that if you just look at total calories and fat, you might not call it healthy. But not only does this sauce pack a flavor punch, it’s also packed full of healthy nutrients.
How can we consider pesto as healthy you may ask? Well first of all, pesto gets its fat from olive oil and pine nuts. These are both considered heart healthy (non saturated) fats. Not to mention, a little bit of pesto goes a long way. So if cooking up some roasted vegetables with a dollop of pesto is the only way you can get your serving of vegetables in for the day, then that’s a healthy win in my book. Also, homemade kale pesto is a healthier, tasty way to get more vegetables into your diet.
Similar to mustard, be sure to check store bought pesto labels for sodium. Certain brands tend to be heavy handed with the salt so be mindful of this when you’re shopping around.
3. G Hughes Sugar Free BBQ sauce
Y’all. Scrolling through the sugar free line of sauces from G Hughes on the online Amazon store has me drooling. There are so many marinades, BBQ flavors and dressings that I can’t wait to get my hands on to try.
One of the sauces I have had the pleasure of trying is the G Hughes Sugar Free Original BBQ sauce. For this sugar free sauce, I think you may notice a difference from regular BBQ sauce if you were to use it as a dipping sauce. But when I used for slow cooking some ribs, the flavor was excellent and I don’t know that you would have been able to tell it was sugar free.
4. Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing
Now if this was real ranch dressing, it would absolutely be higher up on the list. While I was excited to try a “healthier” version of ranch dressing, I don’t think this tastes anything like the real deal. BUT just because it doesn’t take like ranch dressing doesn’t mean I dont like it.
The Primal Kitchen ranch dressing has a strong dill flavor. If you aren’t a fan of pickles you will hate this. But what the dressing offers is a nice, light and different flavor profile to mix up your taste buds. This dressing is dairy-free too, for those that may want a dairy-free ranch option.
Primal kitchen offers a wide variety of standard condiments that they have put their own healthy spin on that I can’t wait to try! Check out their full store on Amazon for more inspiration.
5. Tahini sauce
Are you new to the world of tahini sauce? Well let me tell you, so was I until recently and it has changed the cooking game! My personal favorite way to use tahini sauce is to make my own creamy salad dressing but the possibilities don’t end there.
Whether you’re craving a dip, creamy pasta sauce or vegetable drizzle, tahini sauce can make it happen. Made from sesame seeds, this sauce is a little higher than others in calorie and fat amounts. But again, there are still health benefits to using the sauce. Tahini sauce is full of vitamins and antioxidants, and assists in protecting the liver and kidney functions.
Curious what it’s all about or just need a refill? Get you some today!
6. Hot sauce
Although I am not a hot sauce fan myself, I wish I was. Hot sauce brings a ton of flavor (and kick) to a dish, without bringing in extra calories. Some could even argue that the heat of the dish might deter you from eating larger portions.
With zero calories or fat, you get a spark of added flavor to your food without adding to your daily calorie intake. Just like other sauces on this list though, you will want to be mindful of the sodium levels by checking the label.
Our team’s consensus for the best every day hot sauce was Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, if you’re looking for a quick purchase.
7. Soy sauce
Honorable mention for best condiments goes to soy sauce. Even though one tablespoon is only 15 calories, the sauce is jacked up with sodium. So as I have said (probably too many times at this point) check your labels. It’s important to know what you’re putting into your body so you can make the most educated decisions when it comes to what you eat!
In moderation though soy sauce, combined with some spices, makes for a great marinade or by itself it’s an easy dipping sauce.
Two brands that do a great job of keeping their ingredients real and simple are RXBARs and Larabars. If you want to check out which ones tend to be healthier, check out our post that talks all about it!