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Healthy showdown: Dressings, spreads and sauces
June 8, 2014, 11:57 am

If you are making a conscious effort to eat only healthy food, then you should always consider what you add on your dish and its nutritional value. Certain dressings, spreads and sauces are considerably healthier compared to other sources, and you can only benefit from if you include the best in your diet. Here is a healthy showdown of what you should reach for when snacking.

French dressing vs. Thousand Island dressing: Commercial French dressing typically has less fat, less sugar and about 30% fewer calories than thousand island dressing, so it's the pick for those watching their weight, but it tends to have about twice as much salt. Make your own French-style dressing with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard and just a pinch of salt for the healthiest option.

Frozen yoghurt vs. natural yoghurt: It's better to think of frozen yoghurt as a milk-based dessert, similar to ice-cream, than simply yoghurt popped in the freezer. Although brands differ, frozen yoghurt tends to have more sugar, less calcium, more additives and more overall calories than plain yoghurt. While some have the live cultures that are found in natural yoghurt, most don't.

Soy sauce vs. Tamari: Both sauces are made from fermented soybeans and, although brands vary considerably, tamari is often darker in color and richer in flavor. If you're gluten intolerant, tamari is the winner because, unlike soy sauce, it's usually wheat-free. Sometimes tamari is lower in salt, but this isn't always the case so check the bottle. Wheat aside, there are few nutritional differences.

Potato chips vs. corn chips: Corn chips tend to have less fat, less salt, more fibre, more calcium and a little more protein than potato crisps, so they are the winner. However, like potato chips, they're still calorie-dense and high in salt, so should only be eaten occasionally. Go for an unsalted variety and team it with fresh homemade guacamole for a nutrient boost.

Lamb vs. fish: Trying to decide which one to have for a delicious dinner. Although lamb has more protein, iron and zinc, fish is usually packed with healthy omega-3 fats, and it has less salt. Concerns have been raised about exposure of some fish to pollutants. However, some experts have voiced particular concern over the links between processed meats and lifestyle diseases.

Jam vs. fruit spread:  Typically, fruit spread is a jam without added cane sugar. Concentrated fruit juice is often used instead. If you want a purely fruit-based product, this might appeal, but it's still sugar in another form, and the calories can be the same or higher. There are huge brand variations, so read the label, particularly the fruit content (40% is the minimum required in jams). Some fruit spreads have less fruit than some jams.



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