As summer arrives, we’ll be having picnics, barbeques and cook-outs!  Here is a breakdown of condiments – options that won’t make you go YUK! but will make you go YUM!

These lists are from personal trainer Mike Geary, CNS, author of The Truth About Six Pack Abs & The Fat Burning Kitchen, with some Full Circle Vitality twists thrown in.

Less than healthy choices:

  1. Mayonnaise.  Made with processed, refined soybeans, which can cause internal inflammation.  IF you can find a mayo made with olive oil instead, it could be a healthy choice! Try Greek yogurt with your favorite spices as an alternative.
  2. Tartar Sauce.  Same as above with mayonnaise.  It might have some added herbs, but the oils make it a sub-par choice. You could substitute a good quality cream cheese, again with your favorite spices.
  3. Ketchup.  Most brands have lots of added sugar, in addition to high fructose corn syrup.  Look for organic brands with no added sugar for a healthier option. You’ll be surprised at the good taste.  My son-in-law, Jason Grimes, and I have lively discussions on healthy ketchup!
  4. Barbeque Sauce.  This is a big strike-out due to higher levels of added sugars and high fructose corn syrup, and less benefits from tomatoes. Experiment with recipes that use honey or stevia instead.
  5. Salad Dressings.  Most store brands contain the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup and unhealthy canola and/or soybean oil.  Avoid “fat-free” dressings – you need some fat to help absorb the nutrients from the salad greens.  If you can find one made on-premises, it usually has less added preservatives and could be a better option.  Or, better yet, make your own!

Better, healthier choices:

  1. Mustard.  Generally, one of the healthiest condiments!  Most brands contain no added sugar, and mustard seed is a great antioxidant. In addition, many mustards contain turmeric and paprika, which are also good antioxidants.
  2. Guacamole.  Made from my all-time favorite, the avocado!  Guacamole has healthy fats, fiber, and lots of healthy nutrients and antioxidants.  I even like most store brands.  Just read the label to make sure you’re getting pure ingredients.
  3. Salsa.  Just like ketchup, right?  Not really!  Salsa is made from mostly veggies, without added sugars.  And it pairs well with guacamole.  Try it on a burger or hot dog next time!
  4. Hummus.  I love hummus!  It can be a condiment or a snack with veggies.  Many store brands are pretty healthful – just read the label.  Choose those made with olive oil, rather than canola or soybean oil.  Try making your own, too.  There are lots of recipes!
  5. Pesto.  Made from basil, garlic, olive oil and sometimes pine nuts and grated cheese, pesto has a lot of antioxidants in it and can be easily whipped up from all the basil in your garden, especially at the end of the season.  I make it in batches and freeze extra in ice cube trays, and have pesto at my fingertips!

Picnic season can be a healthier season if you start with good proteins, good fats, and now…excellent tasting and good-for-you condiments! 

Hello Summer!  To Your Vitality!

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