Healthy Dips

By Cara Rosenbloom, RD
Posted: September 2013

A tasty dip is great way to make the veggies go down. Here’s how to choose dips that add nutrition – not just fat and salt.
Cara Rosenbloom, RD

A tasty dip can make the veggies go down. But it’s important to choose one that adds healthy nutrition, not just fat and salt.
The research is in: Kids really will eat more vegetables if they are paired with dip.
In one study, researchers gave plain vegetables, as well as veggies with different dips, to preschool children. The children were three times more likely to reject the vegetable alone, compared with the vegetable-dip combo. In a different study, children who were sensitive to the bitter taste of vegetables ate 80 per cent more broccoli when it was paired with a dip or dressing. I haven’t found a similar study on adult palates, but the concept is certainly worth a try!
However, some dips are high in fat and salt, and add little nutritional value to meals and snacks. There are better options!
Healthiest store-bought choices
Whether you are buying a container of dip or a bottled dressing, it’s important to read the ingredient list and the Nutrition Facts panel to look for options that are low in saturated fat, sodium and sugar, but high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
For example, hummus is a source of fibre from chickpeas; nut-based dips such as peanut butter (yes it tastes great with celery or green pepper) contain heart-healthy magnesium; and dips made from yogurt contain calcium and protein.
On the other hand, ranch dip or dressing offers only fat and sodium, while mustard contains sodium and nothing else.
Pick a dip that lists one of these healthy options as the first ingredient:
Chick peas

White, black or pinto beans

Yogurt or Greek yogurt

Fresh produce: tomato, avocado, spinach, roasted red peppers, pumpkin, etc.

Cottage or light ricotta cheese

Edamame, tofu or soynuts

Nuts or seeds (such as almond or sunflower seed butter)

If the first ingredient is sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise, keep shopping. These dips will be high in fat, but lower in protein and other valuable nutrients. If your recipe calls for these ingredients, try using low-fat Greek yogurt instead. It’s thick, creamy and plain-tasting, so it marries nicely with dip-friendly flavours such as dill, garlic, chili flakes, pepper and cumin.
Some dips are high in sodium, so a little goes a long way. If you are a big dipper, choose options with less sodium. Here’s how some popular dips compare in terms of sodium content.
Dip (2 tbsp)

Sodium (mg)

Processed cheese sauce

541

Yellow mustard

330

Low-fat ranch dressing

290

Ketchup

280

Cream cheese onion dip

260

Original ranch dressing

260

Spinach dip

190

Salsa

190

Hummus

130

Nut/seed butter (salt added)

120

Guacamole

85

Yogurt tzatziki

55

Nut/seed butter (no salt added)

0

You can see that the whole food-based dips near the bottom have the least amount of sodium. They also have more protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat! It’s win-win.
Make your own
I like to experiment with my own dip recipes, as does Heart and Stroke Foundation recipe developer Emily Richards. Try her delicious Navy bean hummus and Greek yogurt ranch dip.
My kids love dipping carrots and peppers into pureed chickpeas with cumin and lemon juice (it’s like hummus without the garlic), or almond butter blended with Greek yogurt and a touch of cinnamon. I love watching them eat their vegetables – and knowing the dip is giving them a little extra nutrition in every bite. 

This article comes from the heart and stroke foundation Canada. A great resource. 

Jax 

Foods To Avoid #1

#1 – Commercially Processed Salad Dressing

  What are salads? Typically, we would describe salads as a healthy meal, comprising mainly of vegetables and sometimes fruits, nuts and other accompaniments that provide nutrition or some appeal. YES! Salads can be good for us. However, when considering foods we MUST NOT eat, consider the commercially processed salad dressings that are being sold to accompany the salads we eat. These types of dressings can contain TONS AND TONS of unwanted calories.

  
Commercially Processed Salad Dressing

  
The loophole we face with salads is that these foods are usually not served alone. The dressing seems and most times IS the perfect thing to associate with a salad. Without a salad dressing, the salad can taste bland and uninviting. To satisfy to this market need, commercially produced salad dressings can contain ingredients to make this salad dressing product taste appealing. Hence, we NEED to be aware of this food.