Best and Worst Condiments

A condiment by definition is ‘a substance used to enhance the flavour of food’ – imagine how bland and boring our meals (lives!) would be without them. But as much as we love them, and as much as they make most dishes taste more fabulous, they’re not always best for our health, because often they’re laden with sodium or sugar. If you want to retain flavour, but also want to make healthier choices, read on for striking the best balance.

BBQ Marinade vs Home-Made

Yes, we hear you groan, after going to great lengths to find the best quality meat in Cape Town, how can you possibly braai your favourite steak or spatchcock chicken without marinade, but some store-bought varieties actually contain more sugar than coke – you may as well just go ahead and sprinkle sugar on your meat. There are definitely healthier options, and they begin with making your own marinade. Start with good quality olive oil, add salt, pepper and spices, herbs, and fresh lemon juice to make a zesty and lighter alternative – if you want a sweeter marinade, replace the lemon juice with another fruit like pineapple or orange; and if it’s a hot kick you’re after, forget the sweet chilli sauce (again absolutely laden with sugar), add Tabasco sauce – absolutely no sugar and all the heat you need.

Tomato Sauce vs Salsa

Hot dogs without tomato sauce are like cappuccinos without the froth or pickled Halaal fish (please link to Products page) without the pickle. And while tomato sauce may be much lower in fat and calories than our other favourite condiment, mayonnaise; and rich in vitamins A and C, and lycopene (an antioxidant that helps our bodies ward off cellular tissue damage) – again, it is very high in salt and sugar. One tablespoon typically contains 4 grams of sugar (much of this has been added and does not come from the natural sugars found in tomatoes) and 190 milligrams of sodium – add too much tomato sauce to your food and soon you’ll be nearing your daily limit of sugar and salt, and that’s before considering all the hidden sugars and sodium in the other foods we eat. A healthier alternative is salsa, you can easily make your own at home – diced tomatoes and onion, mixed with minced chillies and garlic, fresh lemon juice and salt; even store-bought salsa has far less sugar in a tablespoon than tomato sauce – around 0.2 grams per tablespoon.

By far one of the best condiments to eat, from a calorie, sugar and salt point of view, is mustard; not only is it practically calorie free, it also carries many health benefits – said to contain anti-cancer properties, it is also rich in vitamin C, many of the B-complex vitamins, and several minerals all of which are beneficial for cellular regeneration and energy.

Whatever your condiment preference and however you choose to prepare and serve your food this long weekend, have a wonderful time with family and friends; and from all at N1, your leading quality meat Cape Town and Johannesburg wholesale supplier – Happy Easter.