The words “healthy” and “dipping sauce” don’t often go together. But it is possible to find – or make! – a healthy dipping sauce to add extra flavor to meat and vegetables.
When you want to eat healthier, dipping sauces can make it easier to get in your daily vegetable servings. But many store-bought dips will sabotage your healthy goals. It’s important to find healthy alternatives so that you can maximize both taste and nutrition.
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?
A dip can be considered healthy when it is made from fresh, unprocessed, simple ingredients. Store-bought sauces and salad dressings are full of chemicals, processed sugars, trans fats, and added calories that are completely unnecessary. They have the power to turn a delicious-looking salad into a 1000-calorie monster in a blink of an eye.
When determining what makes a dipping sauce healthy, the answer is going to be utterly dependent on one thing… the ingredients in it. Choosing a product with simple ingredients or whole foods for homemade sauces will be a healthier choice and will create a tasty dip everyone will love.
On your journey to becoming healthier and making healthier choices, you may have overlooked things like dipping sauces. Now is the time to fix that by looking at ingredients carefully or making your own healthy homemade sauces!
What Is the Healthiest Dipping Sauce?
There are several healthy sauces for vegetables and meats. Which hopefully is good news for those of you that love them like me!
In my opinion, there is no single “healthiest” champion, but there are several contenders for the title. That 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, healthy dips, and even hot sauce, are great because they all have weight loss benefits such as healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
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 sometimes vegetable add-ins. Similarly, avocado spreads and dips are also made with fresh ingredients. Since avocados and chickpeas are both protein-rich, they 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.
While you may turn your nose up at the idea at first, you’d be surprised at how well a gourmet, low-calorie mustard pairs 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. It’s a fantastic healthy dipping sauce for 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. A much healthier option is a vinaigrette, such as a balsamic vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette usually has healthy olive oil, vinegar and 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 Dipping Sauce for 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 a healthy honey mustard dipping sauce, there are many easy recipes to make on your own. 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 way to add flavor to vegetables or proteins like chicken. Like I mentioned above, making a vinaigrette is fairly easy and requires few ingredients, just vinegar and oil, and maybe some spices or other flavors you desire.
For an easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe that works great as a homemade dipping sauce, just whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, and any spices you like and enjoy!
Homemade Ranch with Kefir
We have discussed how store-bought ranch dressing or ranch dip is a less than ideal choice, 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, made with chickpeas, 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’s a wonderful choice to dip fresh vegetables in.
It’s easy to make at home, but there are also many great brands of store-bought hummus. Just be sure to check the labels and avoid those with unhealthy added ingredients.
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. It’s one of the healthiest condiments you can choose. Made with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onions, peppers, lemon juice, parsley, and various other flavorful add-ins, salsa can be useful in any dipping occasion.
Like I mentioned previously, hot sauce has been shown to promote weight loss 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. Hot sauce makes an excellent healthy chicken dipping sauce and is also terrific on eggs.
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 and healthy fats, pesto is perfect for adding to chicken, pasta, sandwiches and more. It adds a beautiful color and flavor to any dish while acting as a healthy alternative to high-calorie sauces.
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 a Homemade Dipping Sauce?
If you have the time and motivation to make your own condiments and dips, then you definitely should! Homemade versions are always better than packaged condiments 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.
So why are store-bought sauces bad for you? Not all of them are bad, 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.
These days there are some store-bought alternatives to the classic, unhealthy dipping sauces. Healthy dipping sauces are usually categorized by a few unnecessary additives and lower calories per serving. Pay attention to the ingredients and decide if you can find a healthier alternative in a different brand name or if you would rather make it yourself at home.
When it comes to healthy sauce recipes and dipping sauces, you have much more control over what you put in your body if you go homemade. You may find some new, more flavorful choices with health benefits that you should try with your favorite foods! Plus, you get to exercise your cooking and food pairing skills if you try your hand at homemade dips!