The word “healthy” and the term “dipping sauce” don’t often go together. But when you want to eat healthier, dipping sauces can be a lifesaver. Condiments add flavor when you’re cooking vegetables or meat, and they make it easier to get in your daily vegetable servings. It’s important to find healthy alternatives so that you can maximize both taste and nutrition without sacrificing one for the other!
In this guide, we’ll discuss why store-bought sauces are almost always bad for you, how different ingredients affect whether or not a sauce is healthy, and how it’s possible to whip up your own delicious dipping sauce at home! These sauces can be combined with many favorites such as chicken wings, chicken tenders, tortilla chips, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, sweet potato fries, french fries, waffle fries, carrots, celery, peppers, and many other healthy snack options for your whole family to enjoy.
What Makes a Dipping Sauce Healthy?
On your journey to becoming healthier and to making healthier choices, you may have overlooked things like dipping sauces. Unfortunately, worst offenders are rampant with various sugars, trans fats, and added calories that are completely unnecessary. Healthy dipping sauces can seem to be too high in fats, but we need a percentage of healthy fats daily to properly fuel our body.
A healthy dipping sauce can be considered healthy when it is made from unprocessed and fresh, simple ingredients! Store-bought sauces and salad dressings are full of chemicals, processed sugars, and fats. They have the power of turning a delicious-looking salad into a 1000 calorie monster in a blink of an eye.
All in all when determining what makes a dipping sauce healthy, the answer is going to be utterly dependent on one thing… the ingredients in it. Choosing whole foods for homemade version of sauces will be a healthier choice and frankly will create a tasty dip everyone will like better a snack time than what you can find from the grocery store.
What Is the Healthiest Dipping Sauce?
There are a lot of healthy homemade dipping sauces out there! Which hopefully is good news for those of you that love them like me! In my opinion, there is not a single ruling champ on which dipping sauce is the healthiest. There are several contenders for the title, which means more options for you.
Hummus, guacamole, bean dips, yogurt-based dips, and even hot sauce are all great and healthy options to accompany main courses and dip food and snacks in.
What Is the Best Dipping Sauce for Weight Loss?
The best dipping sauces for weight loss are those that have minimal calories and healthy ingredients. Options like hummus, avocado spreads, or dips, including hot sauce, are great because they all have healthy qualities and possible weight loss benefits.
For example, 2 tablespoons of hummus has around 50 calories, and 2 tablespoons of ranch has around 150 calories – both are delicious with raw veggies, but one clearly wins out when you’re trying to lose weight.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, olive oil, and several spices, and possible vegetable add-ins. Much like hummus, avocado spreads and dips are also made with fresh ingredients and as avocados and chickpeas are both protein-rich, they are filling so they can promote weight loss by helping you feel full faster.
Hot sauce is good for weight loss because it has been shown to increase metabolism, lower inflammation in the body, and even help to burn fat because of the spicy chemical capsaicin.
Mustard, while you may turn your nose up at the idea at first, you’d be surprised at how well a gourmet mustard, low in calories, pairs well with carrots, sugar snap peas, and even broccoli!
Woeber’s Mustard – has so many yummy flavors and variations, all with 1g of sugar or less per serving, and taste great with veggies!
What Is the Healthiest Salad Dressing?
We all are familiar with ranch dressing, and many people use it for much more than just salad dressing, but it is far from the healthiest option out there for your salads. A much healthier option is a vinaigrette, such as a balsamic vinaigrette.
Homemade vinaigrette usually has a vinegar aspect to it along with other added flavors, such as raspberry or fig. The great thing about vinaigrettes is that they are low in processed sugars and calories and are a great way to add a delicious, guilt-free dressing to your salad.
Must Try Healthy Sauces for Dipping Chicken & Vegetables
When looking for healthier choices to dip chicken or vegetables in, you may think things like honey mustard sauce and Dijon mustard are off the table. However, mustards are actually one of the healthier dipping sauces to use. This is because mustards are typically made using mustard seeds, vinegar, and other ingredients to add to the flavor.
Dijon mustard is an excellent option low in calories, and even store-bought versions won’t have as much added sugars or fats as other dipping options. If you are looking for healthy honey mustard, there are many easy recipes, and all you have to do is start with a base of mustard seeds and white vinegar.
While you may be thinking that vinaigrettes are only used for salads, they are actually a delicious dip for proteins like chicken or your plain vegetables to add flavor. Like I mentioned above, making a vinaigrette is fairly easy and requires few ingredients, just vinegar and oil, and other flavors to add-in.
An easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe that will work with many dipping choices is just adding balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, and other spices to enjoy it and just mixing it all together!
Homemade Ranch with Kefir
We have discussed that store-bought ranch dressing or ranch dip is a less than ideal choice with extra calories when trying to shift to healthier sauces, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a healthy version ourselves! Kefir is a fermented milk product that is similar to a runny yogurt consistency and is a great base to add in fresh herbs that make up classic ranch.
All you need to make homemade ranch with kefir is dill, chives, apple cider vinegar, and garlic and onion powder. Mix these all together, and you’ll have a great substitute and a much healthier alternative to what is sold in stores.
If you find that your kefir ranch is too runny, you can add a few tablespoons of plain greek yogurt to help thicken it up.
Hummus is a protein-filled dipping choice with a nutty flavor that can be spiced up with ingredients of your choice like roasted red peppers, artichoke, or spicy black beans. Hummus is low in calories per tablespoon, and since it is full of protein, it fills you up faster than other dips you may be used to.
It is a wonderful choice to dip fresh vegetables in, and there are many great brands of store-bought hummus, which are still just as healthy if you made it at home! Just be sure to check the label when buying one from the store to make the best choice.
The Best Healthy Condiments for Weight Loss
Mustard may not be the first thing that pops into mind as you think about condiments and weight loss, but this low-calorie spread is very useful in many meal situations and has very few added sugars and fats, which makes it a classic choice that you won’t have to switch out for a healthier version. Unless you want to try to make it yourself at home with your own fresh ingredients.
Salsa is something we likely have all made at home with ease and that’s great because it is a very fresh and healthy condiment and dip! Made with things like tomatoes, lemon juice, parsley, and various other flavorful add-ins, salsa can be made to fit any dipping occasion.
Like I mentioned previously, hot sauce has been shown to produce and improve weight loss qualities because of the chemical capsaicin which is what makes things spicy.
This spicy chemical has anti-inflammatory benefits and is thought to speed up the metabolism, so this is one choice that is perfect for spice lovers who want to make a weight loss assisting switch.
It may not be a condiment you have thought of lately unless you are a big pasta fan, but pesto is a very healthy condiment for many different food scenarios. Made with basil, pine nuts, and extra virgin olive oil, this sauce has minimal ingredients and very few calories.
Packed with flavor, healthy fats and perfect for adding to chicken and other dishes, it adds a beautiful color and flavor to any dish while helping to lose weight by utilizing it as a healthy alternative.
What Is the Difference Between A Sauce and Dip?
A sauce and a dip are basically the same things, the only difference being in the specific ways that they are used with food. A dip is, as its name suggests, is a sauce which food items get dipped into. A sauce, on the other hand, is usually poured over the food itself like a glaze or a gravy.
Is It Healthier to Make My Own Sauce, Dressings & Dips?
If you have the time and motivation to make your own condiments and dips, then you definitely should! Homemade versions are often the better choice because you can control what goes into them and you don’t have to worry about added sugars, fats, or preservatives that are added to primarily to store-bought dips.
Why are store-bought sauces bad for you?
Store-bought sauces are not always bad for you, but a majority of the sauces sold in stores have added preservatives so that they can remain fresh on the shelves.
Most of these sauces also add in sugars, dyes, and other not so natural things to make them more “palatable” for consumers.
Overall, when it comes to store-bought options, you have to pay attention to the ingredients and decide if you would rather make it yourself or if you can find a healthier alternative in a different brand name.
When it comes to healthy dipping sauces, homemade is the way to go!
Whether you are looking for sauces, dips, or condiments, there are many healthy alternatives to classic options or even some new, more flavorful choices with health benefits that you should try with your favorite foods!
Above all, healthy dipping sauces are usually categorized by a few unnecessary additives and lower calories per serving. While you can find some options like this in store, you have much more control over what you put in and the overall flavor of sauces if you go homemade.
Plus, you get to exercise your cooking and food pairing skills if you try your hand at homemade dips!