In the UAE, we have so many different dipping sauces that it’s become customary for all mealtimes. Dipping sauces are a staple condiment for most middle eastern dishes, but have we ever considered how they affect our health?
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Most people don’t count the calorie of sauces as they can be considered as insignificant, but there are dipping sauces that aren’t so good for our health. This is why it’s important to identify what dipping sauces we should monitor and regulate and the ones that won’t affect our health too significantly.
Dipping sauces for bread and meats should be carefully selected after you’ve considered what you’re using to dip them in. Sauces that are heavy on oil, preservatives and/or contain a lot of refined ingredients should be avoided.
All pre-packaged sauces may contain preservatives and ingredients you are unaware of. With that being said, here are some easy, healthy and tasty dipping sauces you can make and try at your next mealtime.
Healthy Dipping Sauces
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt is one of the most popular types of dips in the UAE. It is commonly mixed with multiple healthy ingredients to enhance the flavour. What makes Greek yoghurt a popular choice is that it can go perfectly on its own without having to add extras.
Its texture is thick and creamy and is an extremely nutritious dip. Greek yoghurt is a great natural source of protein for muscle growth as well as calcium to promote better bone health. Greek yoghurt is the perfect dip for vegetables, chips as well as spreads.
Probably the most popular condiment in the entire Middle East, you cant have a dipping sauce party without humus. Made up of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, hummus is incredibly delicious yet very nutritious.
Hummus is high in fibres a great source of magnesium and folate as well as containing plenty of other essential minerals. Hummus is most commonly used as a dip for vegetables and chips as well as working as a spread for bread or dressing for the salad.
3. Baba Ganoush
A very popular middle eastern dip, baba ganoush is derived from cooked eggplant, tahini, olive oil and a bit of spice. Not only is baba ganoush a delicious dip, but it is great for your health.
The olive oil topping is an excellent source of natural, heart-healthy fats that help to maintain cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health. Eggplants are a great source of vitamin B, E, and fibre and are good for keeping blood sugar levels.
Guacamole or any dips that have avocado are great dipping options. Avocados themselves are one of the best sources of healthy fats and fibres. Half an avocado contains 5 grams of fibre.
This is good for managing cholesterol levels, improved digestion, as well as improving heart health. Guacamole can be mashed and served on its own or can be mixed with lemon juice, feta cheese, onion, garlic and other healthy ingredients that you like.
5. Homemade Salsa
Salsa is one of those foods that is best when made at home. Most salsa that you buy premade or pre-packaged contains preservatives and ingredients you don’t necessarily want or need.
However, if you make it yourself and with healthy and fresh ingredients, salsa can become one of the most nutritious and tasty dipping sauces available. Using fresh and basic ingredients such as raw tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh peppers or as well as lime juice is enough to make your salsa healthy and interesting.
Tomatoes contain an abundance of vitamins A and C as well as folate. Adding onions and garlic are also healthy options you can add as they contain flavonoids that can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
Moderation is Key
The purpose of dipping sauces is to enhance flavours and make meals and dishes more exciting. Dipping sauces or sauces of any kind should not be a core component of the main dish. With that being said, it’s important to moderate how much you have.
With many sauces in from the Middle East being quite heavy on processed ingredients and oil, the key to ensuring it doesn’t affect your health or weight is to moderate how much we have. If you’re able to moderate your consumption, you can essentially enjoy all the delicious sauces on offer.
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