Condiments and sauces add spice to our menu, but what kinds are "allowed" in a diabetic diet? Does it have too many carbs, too much sugar, or maybe too much salt? Let’s take a look at some guidelines to help you decide, and offer some recipe comparisons and suggestions.
Check the Label
First, we ideally want to check the label, if it has one. Using a recipe? Many now come with their own nutrition information. Look for the following:
- 5 g total carbohydrate per serving or less (Don't worry about the sugar, it's already included.)
- 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.
If the product contains less than 5 grams of total carbohydrate, and you are eating only the suggested serving size, there is no need to worry about counting it as part of your meal plan. If you know you are going to eat more than the recommended serving size, you may need to count that condiment or sauce as part of your allowed total carbohydrate for the meal.
Sugar and Sodium
Some sauces and dressings have some form of sugar as an ingredient, so another option is to replace the sugar with a sugar substitute like Splenda or Truvia. Replacing the sugar in a coleslaw dressing or sweet and sour sauce would be good place to try this.
A product is considered "low sodium" if it contains 140 mg or less per serving. Does that mean you can't use it if it has more? Not necessarily, but you do want to consider the sodium content of the other food items in your meal before you choose to use a higher sodium condiment or sauce.
Let's compare store-bought ketchup to a homemade version based on a 2-tablespoon serving size:
Total calories: 30
Sodium: 335 mg
Total carbohydrate: 8 g
Total calories: 20
Sodium 280 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 4 g
Notice the homemade version has half the amount of carbohydrate as traditional ketchup, 50 mg less sodium, and even a few less calories.
Remember, always check the serving size. For most condiments and sauces the serving size is only 1 or 2 tablespoons. Even though the total carbohydrate may be less than 5 g, if you plan to use more than the recommended serving size, you may need to count it as part of your carb-controlled meal plan.
Homemade Ketchup Recipe
- 1-6 ounce can no-salt-added tomato paste
- ⅓ cup apple cider or champagne vinegar
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
- 1 finely minced garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Mix all the ingredients together in blender or food processor until smooth.
- Store in a container in the refrigerator up to a week.
Makes 9 servings (yields 1 generous cup). Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Recipe adapted from Diabetes Forecast magazine website.