In the nutrition world, condiments tend to get a bad rap—and frankly, it’s deserved. A serving of ketchup can have as much sugar as a chocolate chip cookie. Sriracha? It’s got sodium and again, hidden sugar. Mayo? Just, ugh.
But you don’t have to resign yourself to a lifetime of naked sweet potato fries and under-seasoned healthy bowls just yet. There are lots of delicious condiments out there that aren’t loaded with sugar or salt—if you know where to look.
We rounded up some of the best options and got them all verified by health coach Amie Valpone, blogger at The Healthy Apple and author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body.
Scroll down for eight condiments that are actually good for you.
“The great thing about this mayonnaise is that it’s made with organic eggs, automatically making it better than other mayos that use eggs full of growth hormones,” Valpone says. Another big plus? No canola oil. “The fact that this one uses avocado oil is amazing,” she says. (It’s been shown to protect against free radicals.) Bonus: Unlike other popular mayo brands, sugar isn’t in the recipe.
Yes, ketchup requires some sweetness to taste good, but Tessemae’s uses date puree instead of refined sugar, making it a winner in Valpone’s book. Plus, it has apple cider vinegar, which can help balance pH levels and aid in digestion. “This is the cleanest ketchup that I’ve seen,” she notes.
Some popular mustards pack a lot of sodium, but this one “is one of my favorite things in the world,” Valpone raves. It too contains apple cider vinegar, one of only five ingredients on the label, along with mustard seed, vinegar, water, and sea salt. It doesn’t get much cleaner than that!
The old-school label is the first tip-off that this hot sauce is as simple as they come, made with only aged red cayenne peppers, distilled vinegar, and salt. “Cayenne pepper is detoxing and helps a lot of people with digestion,” Valpone says. Go ahead and slather it on your avocado toast.
This dip/salsa hybrid from Chobani is brand spankin’ new and made with Greek yogurt as a base—hello, healthy probiotics. That’s not the only thing Valpone likes about it: Each serving has three grams of protein and only one gram of sugar.
Smothering your veggies in high sodium soy sauce can make a healthy stir fry, well, not healthy at all, so this super simple, two-ingredient sauce is an awesome alternative. It’s made with organic coconut sap and mineral-rich salt—and it has way less sodium than soy sauce. Need a bit more convincing? “I use it all the time,” promises Valpone.
Sometimes condiments can make your meal even more nutritious, like this fiery chili paste. It’s made with cumin (a known fat blaster), plus inflammation-fighting turmeric, cayenne, and ginger. It also has acerola, the cherry-like fruit that’s loaded with vitamin C, so it’s full of superfoods.
To make this spread, watermelon seeds (a sneaky source of protein—and a buzzy ingredient) are stone-ground into a smooth seed butter that’s great on toast, fruit, in dressings, or straight out of the jar. “This is a one-ingredient whole food—there’s nothing else in it,” Valpone says. So go on, butter your bread on both sides.
Wanna keep channeling your inner nutritionist? Read up on these “healthy” foods that gurus actually aren’t into at all. Then make sure you’re up on these pervasive hydration-related myths.
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