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Substitutes for Ketchup

Jul 29, 2010

Ketchup is a popular addition to hamburgers, fries and hot dogs--but, how healthy is ketchup? Unfortunately, ketchup contains high amounts of sugar, salt and fat, making it detrimental to people who are trying to fight obesity or other health problems. Here are 3 alternatives to ketchup.

1. Salsa

Salsa makes a great alternative to ketchup, because unlike ketchup which is loaded with high amounts of sugar, salt and fat, salsa is a relatively healthy food. Salsa not only contains high amounts of tomatoes and peppers, which have lots of vitamins and minerals essential for good health and optimal growth, but some salsas contain garlic, which has been found to be effective in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of cardiovascular problems. Finally, salsas that are made with olive oil are especially healthy. While olive oil is composed almost primarily of fat, the fat is unsaturated. This means that unlike the saturated fats found in red meat and dairy, which can lead to the development of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, can actually help to prevent these conditions.

For best results, look for salsa that is low or free from salt, and has few added preservatives. If you can't find a brand that is has low amounts of salt, you might want to consider making your own salsa. Simply cut up some tomatoes, and mash slightly. Mix them with the peppers of your choice, some fresh black pepper, cilantro and a dash of olive oil. Your salsa will not only be delicious, but will also be healthy!

2. Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Though this may not seem like an obvious choice for a substitute for ketchup, it can actually work quite well as a dipping sauce for fries, or a topping to a hamburger. Like salsa, hummus contains a lot of olive oil, which as discussed earlier is a good source of unsaturated fats, which are essential for good health. In addition, hummus contains either pinto or garbanzo beans, both of which contain slowly-digested carbohydrates. These carbohydrates stay in the stomach for a long period of time, and therefore help prevent feelings of hunger.

You can find a variety of different styles of hummus in most grocery stores, but as with salsa, you can also make your own hummus at home. Puree one can of pinto or garbanzo beans, add a small amount of olive oil, and stir in a bit of sun-dried tomato paste for a taste more similar to that of ketchup. The results will amaze you.

3. Low Sodium Barbecue Sauce

Finally, a last great alternative to ketchup is barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce can be used as a substitute--but it is important to remember that it also contains lots of sugar and salt, and therefore isn't necessarily that much more healthy than plain old ketchup. For a healthier barbecue sauce, look for varieties that are low or free from added sodium.

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