12 Low-Carb Condiments You Need in Your KitchenArticle posted in: Nutrition
Think diet food tastes boring? It can be. Luckily, there are at least a dozen low-carb condiments that you can eat without pause! From sweet and spicy to tangy and creamy, there are many ways to spice up your chicken, veggies and more.
Before you run to the supermarket with this grocery list of goodness, there are a few things to keep in mind: Always opt for full-fat versions of these condiments. Low- or reduced-fat items are usually full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and sodium to replace the flavor that the fat provided. We also advocate for sugar-free options whenever possible to keep your net carb intake to a minimum. Opt for stevia-sweetened condiments; with the low-carb movement on the rise, these types of ingredients are becoming more common at the average grocery store.
Pump up the flavor in all of your favorite foods with low-carb condiments that fit into your South Beach Diet program! Keep reading for 12 of our favorite condiments to grab on your next shopping trip.
Here are 12 low-carb condiments for your kitchen:
1. Hot Sauce
Love spicy food? Then keep on eating it. Not a big spicy food fan? Give it a try! According to Harvard Health Publishing, one study found, “spices derived from chili peppers might also help lower post-meal spikes in insulin levels, which could have implications for diabetes prevention and management.” Plus, chili pepper consumption may increase metabolism and oxidation of fat.
Luckily, one of our favorite condiments contains this potent ingredient: hot sauce! Most bottled hot sauce is made without sugar but Sriracha isn’t one of them. The second ingredient in many popular brands is sugar, so seek out a sugar-free option or stick with a traditional hot sauce.
2. Citrus Juice
When life hands you lemons, rejoice! If you also get limes and grapefruit, play the lottery. From a health standpoint, citrus juice is powerful, with flavonoids that decrease inflammation and promote gut health. They are also rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to support the immune system and play a role in creating healthy skin, bones and more. Click here to learn more about the power of vitamin C! >
From a taste standpoint, citrus juice offers bold flavor with hardly any calories. Add a splash of lemon juice to your salmon before eating. Use lime juice in a steak marinade to soften the meat and add zesty flavor. Or, use grapefruit juice and the zest (and erythritol, if you wish) to jazz up your infused water.
Made from tiny, round seeds, mustard is really just seed pulp mixed with water and vinegar. Sometimes the seeds aren’t completely ground (think whole-grain mustard). Sometimes they’re mushed completely into yellow mustard or powder. Almost every variety (except honey mustard) is embraced on the South Beach Diet because mustard has virtually no calories or carbs. Use the powder in a dry rub. Use any liquid variety in a dipping sauce or dressing. And if you spy mustard greens in the supermarket, scoop them up. They’re peppery and nutrient rich.
Try using mustard in the recipes below:
- Mustard-Crusted Steak >
- Fresh Tuna Salad with Simple Lemon Dijon >
- Marinated Portobello Mushroom Burger with Yuca Fries >
- 3-Step Mustard-Crusted Pork >
- Deviled Egg Stuffed Avocado >
- Cucumber Salmon Salad Bites >
- Five-Step Lemon Thyme Chicken >
- South Beach Diet Classic Burger >
4. Oil & Vinegar
Like mustard, oil and vinegar have been a popular food duo for millennia. While olive oil still is king, it’s not the only Healthy Fat on the shelf. Look for avocado, coconut, hazelnut or sesame oil. Each has a mildly different flavor that suits different foods. The serving size of oils is one tablespoon if you’re eating them as a Healthy Fat. However, they can also be counted towards your daily Extras if you stick to one teaspoon per serving. Check out these eight healthy oils for weight loss! >
Rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are all Free Foods on South Beach and can be enjoyed in the same ways as mustard—in dressings, marinades, sauces and more. Balsamic vinegar (because it usually contains some natural or added sugar) is considered an Extra. Stick to a teaspoon per serving. We wrote a little ode to one of our favorite condiments, apple cider vinegar. Give it a read here! >
Tomatoes. Peppers. Onions. Garlic. Lime juice. Are you noticing a trend? Salsa and Pico de Gallo are full of non-starchy veggies, so eat up! Besides the usual ways to enjoy it—with whole grain chips or garnished on tacos—salsa can be mixed into soup, piled on meats or grilled veggies, served with eggs and even used as a salad dressing.
Looking for a great homemade salsa recipe? Try our Tomato Salsa with Avocado and Onion! >
6. Soy Sauce & Coconut Aminos
Soy sauce doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s salty, makes the perfect meat marinades and can give rice and noodle bowls authentic Asian flavor.
Coconut aminos can be used like soy sauce and is in the same supermarket aisle. Made from the fermented sap of coconut palms and blended with sea salt, coconut aminos has far less sodium than soy sauce, says Healthline. Plus, it’s usually soy and gluten free! It’s sweeter than soy sauce so it gives sauces a natural sweetness, potentially eliminating the need for stevia.
Every way you enjoy salsa you can also enjoy guacamole. Full of veggies and avocado (an omega-3 rich Healthy Fat), guacamole is particularly nice with lean meats, adding a buttery, flavorful richness that you sometimes miss with mild, grilled chicken breast or a boneless pork chop. One Healthy Fat serving is a quarter of a cup.
8. Unsweetened Ketchup & BBQ Sauce
Good news: Most leading ketchup manufacturers make sugar-free ketchup and barbecue sauce, so you can still top your burgers, make meatloaf, dip your fries and more. Want to make your own ketchup? Mix puréed tomatoes with vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder and celery salt. Add a little erythritol, monk fruit or stevia for some extra sweetness. Barbecue sauces start the same way but you’ll want to add pepper, liquid smoke and maybe even a little hot sauce.
Remember: The South Beach Diet is not a low-fat diet. Your body needs the nutrients and heart-disease-fighting ingredients in Healthy Fats, which is why olive or avocado-oil based mayonnaise is on the approved list. (You’re welcome!) Remember to watch your serving size, though. One tablespoon is one Healthy Fat serving and one teaspoon is an Extra. Hello chicken salad, egg salad and seafood salad! Hello, dips! Hello, creamy dressings!
Wasabi is one of those foods that just might save us all. Animal trials have shown that the Japanese staple may help to fight inflammation, decrease the risk of cancer, stop the growth of fat cells and promote brain and bone health, says Healthline.
Meanwhile, wasabi scores big with us in the taste department. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), half a tablespoon (which is likely more than enough of this potent ingredient) has about 29 calories and less than five grams of carbs, plus some fiber and potassium. Try it on sushi, of course, but also try it mixed in veggies or salad dressings.
Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds, says Medical News Today. It’s best known for being the secret ingredient in hummus. It’s considered a Healthy Fat on the South Beach Diet and a serving size is two tablespoons. Tahini is nutty, creamy, savory and delicious when added to sauces. You can also dip your veggies in it, stir it into soup, spread it on our Almond Flour Bread or, of course, make your own hummus. Tahini is protein-rich and full of healthy monounsaturated fats, says Healthline. Plus, it contains thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorus and manganese.
Try out tahini in the recipes below!:
- Roasted Garlic Avocado Hummus >
- Nut-Crusted Fish with Herbed Tahini Cheese Sauce >
- Chocolate Tahini and Mixed Seed Protein Bars >
12. Sour Cream or Yogurt
Believe it or not, full-fat dairy has been correlated with a decreased risk of obesity, says Harvard Health Publishing. It’s getting good marks for its probiotic benefits and satiating qualities. Plus, it gives your body a bunch of stellar nutrients, including calcium and vitamin B12.
It’s time to start thinking of dairy fat as healthy fat. Don’t feel guilty about garnishing your tacos with sour cream or topping your entrée with a creamy Greek yogurt-based sauce. Just stick to one tablespoon as an Extra if you’ve already fulfilled your Healthy Fat requirements for the day. If not, you can have up to a half-cup of plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt. Use it to make a tzatziki sauce or a creamy avocado yogurt dip!