As September comes to a close, it’s time to soak up the final days of summer grilling. What pairs beautifully with warm weather fare? Dips and sauces. From pesto and chimichurri—to dijon mustard and ketchup—condiments elevate simple, savory meals. That said, many traditional condiments contain unnecessary sugars and refined oils. In turn, these can negatively impact your blood sugar. Condiments and metabolic health are a two-way street. Fortunately, there are many wholesome condiments worth the fridge space. With high-protein dinners in mind, I’m sharing flavorful condiments without artificial sugars and refined oils.
what is metabolic health?
Before we dive into condiments, let’s talk about metabolic health. Metabolic health refers to how your metabolism functions. And this involves a complex set of processes that convert food into energy. It includes various factors, like blood sugar regulation, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body weight. Why is metabolic health important? Because it’s crucial for preventing chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
hidden culprits: Added sugars and refined oils
Stroll your local grocer store, and you’ll likely find many condiments with hidden culprits that negatively impact metabolic health. These ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. When eaten frequently, they can eventually lead to insulin resistance. In turn, causing unwanted weight gain, increased inflammation, and even hormonal conditions like PCOS. Additionally, refined oils, such as soybean, canola, or corn oil, are often used in condiments for their low cost and prolonged shelf life. However, they are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which, when consumed in excess, can contribute to inflammation and metabolic imbalances.
How to choose condiments for metabolic health
When it comes to choosing condiments for metabolic health, here’s a helpful guide:
When selecting condiments, read the ingredient labels carefully. Avoid those that contain added sugars, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. Opt for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia if sweetness is desired.
Focus on Healthy Fats
Look for condiments that incorporate healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, or extra virgin olive oil. These fats can support blood sugar regulation, enhance nutrient absorption, and promote satiety.
Stick to Natural Flavor Boosters
Seek out condiments that use natural flavor enhancers like herbs, spices, and citrus juices. These can provide depth and complexity to your meals without compromising metabolic health.
consider Homemade Options
Otherwise, make your own condiments at home! This way, you have full control over the ingredient list. It will be much easier to avoid added sugars, refined oils, and artificial additives. Experiment with fresh ingredients and herbs to create unique and flavorful alternatives.
6 Homemade condiments for better metabolic health
While the grill heats up, throw together one of these easy, healthy, and delicious dips and sauces.
Guacamole: Made from creamy avocados, guacamole is a fantastic condiment that provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote satiety. Additionally, guacamole offers essential nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and E, making it a nourishing choice to accompany grilled meats and veggies. Mash together 1-2 avocados with lime juice, minced cilantro, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
Mango salsa: Salsa is a refreshing and flavorful condiment that can enhance the taste of any grilled dish. The vibrant mix of flavors adds a zesty kick without compromising your metabolic health. In a bowl, combine one chopped mango with diced tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, sea salt, garlic powder, lime juice, and chives.
Pesto: Pesto offers healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a fantastic addition to grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables. Blend fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a delightful condiment.
Greek yogurt sauce: Swap out mayonnaise-based sauces for a lighter and protein-rich option! Combine Greek yogurt (or cottage cheese!) with garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a pinch of salt to create a creamy and refreshing sauce. Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics, calcium, and protein while keeping the sugar content low.
Chimichurri sauce: Originating from Argentina, chimichurri sauce is an herby condiment that complements grilled meats. Blend fresh parsley, cilantro, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices to create this flavorful sauce. It provides antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and healthy fats while adding a burst of flavor.
Tzatziki: Tzatziki—a Greek yogurt-based sauce—is a refreshing and tangy condiment perfect for grilled meats and kebabs. Combine Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt to create this delicious sauce. Tzatziki adds a cool contrast to the smoky flavors of grilled dishes.
The Best store bought condiments for blood sugar balance
Not in the mood to make a homemade dip or sauce? Don’t fret. These condiments pass the blood sugar test. Pair them with everything from grilled meats to eggs, baked tempeh, and slow-cooker pork.
Primal Kitchen’s ketchup is made with only six organic ingredients—tomato concentrate, balsamic vinegar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and spices—and no added sweeteners. The spicy version is delicious, too!
I love this variety pack from Maille. Use mustard in a healthy egg salad, to make delicious turkey burgers, as a sauce on top of grilled salmon, or in a simple salad dressing.
Most barbecue sauces contain over 10 grams of added sugars per serving and they’re made with high-fructose corn syrup. Primal Kitchen’s version has zero added sugars.
This is the best vegan bbq sauce. Sweetened naturally with dates, it’s perfectly sweet and thick enough to coat everything from baked tofu to pulled pork.
Perfect for homemade chicken wings or spicing up deviled eggs, this sauce has a fantastic kick with slightly sweet undertones. Rather than refined oil, it’s made with avocado oil.
This tangy, creamy combination of high-oleic sunflower oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and spices tastes good with everything: raw veggies, salads, roasted sweet potatoes, burgers, chicken, etc.
This smooth and creamy sauce combines free-range egg yolks with vinegar and lime juice for tang, plus avocado oil rather than refined soybean oil. Add this mayo to turkey sandwiches, tacos, stir-fries, and more.
Nothing beats this classic! And it only has three simple ingredients: peppers, vinegar, and salt. Use it liberally to spice up scrambled eggs, grilled shrimp, and guacamole.
These spicy yet versatile sauces skip the artificial ingredients in typical sriracha. They work well with almost anything savory: ground beef tacos, eggs, sautéed tempeh, etc.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.