Your fridge is jam-packed with healthy flavor-boosting condiments, from your go-to nutty pesto to your beloved Sriracha. But if you’re not taking full advantage of all that space in your pantry too, you’re seriously missing out. There are plenty of condiments to store on those shelves that can immediately take your meals from a 7 to a 10.
For registered dietitians, the pantry is basically a treasure chest loaded with nutritional gold. There’s room for healthy cereals, canned goods, nut butters, and of course the condiments you never thought to store there. If you want to eat like a health expert, these are the condiments you’ll always find behind those wooden doors.
The 8 condiments RDs always store in the pantry
There are so many different types of mustard, and you should take full advantage. “I love mustard because it’s a low-calorie condiment,” says Tony Castillo, MS, RDN, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition. “I always spread it on my sandwiches to give them a nice flavor.” Try this option from Annie’s that doesn’t contain any added sweeteners. Then after you open it, pop it in the refrigerator.
2. Red pepper sauce
There’s no better way to spice up your life than this red pepper sauce. “Mina Harissa Mild Moroccan Red Pepper Sauce is made with six simple ingredients: red chili pepper, red bell peppers, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. I love adding it to eggs, vegetables, soups, fish, and meat,” says Brittany Modell, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness. “It’s incredibly versatile and adds a ton of flavor to dishes despite the fact that it’s low in calories, fat, and sugar. Once opened, put it in the refrigerator.”
3. Liquid aminos
If you’ve been wanting a healthier soy sauce alternative, look no further than liquid aminos. “It contains a little less sodium and it’s gluten-free,” Castillo says. “If you’re gluten-sensitive, it makes it easier to prepare an Asian-inspired dish.” Try this option from Bragg’s.
4. BBQ sauce
Yep, even RDs use BBQ sauce. They’re just picky with the kind they bring home. “Using BBQ sauce is an easy way to transform any dish,” Castillo says. “I always look for a lower-sugar option because it can add up quickly. Some contain as much sugar as a can of soda.” Date Lady makes a great option that’s gluten-free, as well as free of corn syrup and cane sugar.
5. Nutritional yeast
Hello, cheesy flavor on everything. “Nutritional yeast—I like Bragg’s!—is a powerhouse seasoning that’s packed with B vitamins, specifically vitamin B12. One tablespoon also contains two grams of fiber and five grams of protein,” Modell says. “It adds a nutritional boost to spreads, salads, vegetables, pasta, and dips, and it can be a great plant-based option if you’re looking for a cheese-like flavor.”
6. Avocado oil
When it comes to cooking oils, Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil is Modell’s go-to. “It’s rich in monounsaturated fats. It’s also a great alternative to extra virgin olive oil due to its high smoke point, which makes it perfect for high-heat cooking and baking, as well as in dressings and sauces.”
But not just any ketchup. Modell chooses Sir Kensington Ketchup for a handful of different reasons. “I’m a fan of ketchup, but not a fan of high fructose corn syrup, which is a common ingredient in many brands. Sir Kensington offers a ketchup that doesn’t contain it. It also has less sugar and salt,” she says. Be sure to pop it in the refrigerator once you open it.
You can never go wrong with salsa. “Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde is in my pantry at all times. I love the simple ingredients, and it only has one gram of sugar per two tablespoons,” Modell says. “It’s an easy way to add a ton of flavor to dishes. I commonly use it with eggs, tacos, fish, and meat and even use it in my slow cooker.” Store a bunch of options in your pantry, then don’t forget to put it in the refrigerator after use.
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