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20 Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Condiments

Are you ruining perfectly nutritious meals with those calorie-sugar-salt bombs we call condiments? Check out these healthier alternatives, so you can boost your nutrition instead of crushing it.

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If you like mayonnaise…

Mayo got a bad rap when fat became the evil nutrient du jour, but a healthier version of mayo is always a good idea. Avocado oil-based mayonnaise boosts your monounsaturated fat intake, while increasing the flavor of your sandwiches, according to dietitian Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan. Try an avocado oil-based mayo like the one by Chosen Foods, which also comes in Black Garlic, Harissa, and Wasabi. Dietitian Lauren O’Connor of Nutri-Saavy loves Veganaise, a vegan mayo alternative. It comes in reduced fat, soy-free, grapeseed oil, original vegan, and organic. Fabanaise from Sir Kensington’s is the vegan mayo that dietitian Tracee Brenner prefers. You can also just skip the mayo and try one of these smart swaps, from dietitian Lauren Harris-Pincus: She loves replacing mayo in tuna salad with either plain Greek yogurt or guacamole. “Each provides moisture, with the yogurt adding a touch of protein and calcium, and the guacamole providing heart-healthy fat and fiber,” she says. Here’s another idea from dietitian Lindsey Pine: “Replace mayo on sandwiches with hummus. “The hummus adds great flavor, plus fiber, protein and a ton of vitamins and minerals,” she says.

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If you like ketchup…

Trader Joe’s saves the day again with their organic tomato ketchup, allowing you to indulge in the most popular tomato-based condiment without high-fructose corn syrup or a massive sugar load (it has only 2 grams of sugar per tablespoon). Better still, WaldenFarms ketchup has zero sugar, fat, or calories, with the primary ingredients being tomato paste and vinegar. Annie’s also sells an organic ketchup with just 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon, and only ingredients you can pronounce! Looking for a quick homemade ketchup? We have you covered.

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If you like butter…

Dietitian Michelle Loy uses plain avocado as a creamy replacement for butter—”I spread it over whole grain toast in the morning instead of butter for a nice dose of extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthier fat. I also add it to traditionally cream-based sauces on whole wheat pasta or veggies.” But when you really just need good old-fashioned butter, consider using ghee. Ghee is a clarified butter, high in vitamins A, D and E, and linoleic acid. Carrington Farms carries a line of ghee that is dairy-free, vegan, and organic.

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If you like BBQ sauce…

When the main ingredient in barbecue sauce is sugar or high fructose corn syrup, it’s time to find a healthier source of that signature smokey taste. Walden Farms offers four different flavors of calorie-free BBQ sauce, containing minced tomatoes, cayenne peppers, herbs, garlic, and vinegar. An organic choice—albeit with added cane sugar—is sold by Annie’s in four flavors. Here are 15 homemade BBQ sauce recipes.

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If you like mustard…

Truthfully, mustard isn’t all bad, nutritionally speaking. Folks watching their salt intake should choose a lower sodium version such as Westbrae Natural Stoneground Mustard, with zero salt added. If the yellow mustard is what you’re craving and sodium isn’t your concern, choose the organic one sold by Annie’s. Here’s a spicy homemade mustard recipe.

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If you like soy sauce…

Traditional soy sauce is loaded with sodium and also marred by controversy over whether the soy is beneficial or harmful nutritionally. Fortunately, there are soy sauce alternatives to have on your radar. Dietitian Lindsey Janeiro recommends coconut aminos. “If someone has a food allergy, coconut aminos are naturally gluten free and soy free. Plus, they’re lower in sodium than traditional soy sauce.” Coconut Secret brand aminos boast 73 percent less sodium than traditional soy sauce.

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If you like ranch dressing…

Americans dip, drizzle, and dab ranch dressing on everything from fries to carrot sticks. Loaded with fat and sodium, it can quickly ruin the health benefits of a beautifully crisp, fresh salad. Dietitian Sarah Hilgert Pflugradt makes her own ranch dressing with Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost. And, it takes only five minutes to whip together!

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If you like jelly and jam…

Dietitian Sarah Curry elevates the humble PB&J with whole fresh fruit instead of sugary jelly. This healthy swap ends up being a taste upgrade as well. One of her favorites is PB & blueberries or PB & thinly sliced apple. “Crunch, goo, sweet, salty—everything you love taste-wise is there,” Curry says. “Nutritionally speaking, it gives you a bit more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and cuts out the free sugars of the original.”

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If you like sour cream…

Plain Greek yogurt is a go-to swap for sour cream, according to Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD. And Greek yogurt can go anywhere sour cream goes. As dietitian Judy Barbe says, “Last week I made clam dip with the yogurt and my husband couldn’t tell the difference. But when he found out, he was so pleased because now the dip was good for him too!” Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium, and works well for topping a baked potato, bowl of chili, or in baked quick breads. Here are some Greek yogurt recipes to try.

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If you like teriyaki sauce…

Jam-packed with sodium, teriyaki dips can put you over your day’s allowance in just a few ounces. Fortunately, several reduced sodium versions are out there. Try Soy Vay‘s Veri Veri Teriyaki with 25 percent less sodium than the original. Trader Joe’s sells a reduced sodium soy sauce that’s perfect for making homemade teriyaki.

Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD
Jennifer is a doctoral-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with nearly 25 years of experience. For the majority of her career she has focused on health care, disease prevention, and nutrition education for a range of ages—from middle school to graduate school students. In private practice, Dr. Bowers is involved in freelance writing and extracurricular nutrition clubs for children. When not working, she enjoys swimming, running, hiking, biking, camping, cooking, and reading.