5 healthy, sugar-free homemade dips, dressings and sauces to spice up your meals

Businessman having a vegetables salad for lunch, healthy eating and lifestyle concept, unrecognizable person
Businessman having a vegetables salad for lunch, healthy eating and lifestyle concept, unrecognizable person (demaerre)

Many restaurant and store bought dips and dressings are high in calories, fat and added sugar. A salad at Mcdonald’s may not always be better than the quarter-pounder with cheese once you factor in the dressing that comes with the salad. You’re always better off ordering a salad without the dressing and making your own at home. If you are eating at the restaurant, you can get the dressing on the side and dip your fork first in the dressing and then in the salad. Here are some healthy dressings and dips that will add a ton of flavor to your salads without all of the extra calories.

Carrot ginger dressing:

To make this easy and low calorie dressing, simply blend cooked carrots, minced ginger root and roasted garlic with unsweetened cashew milk until a smooth consistency is achieved. It will give an Asian flair to any salad or dish. Ginger has a strong flavor so start with two tablespoons to large carrot. Ginger has numerous health benefits and this is a great way to work it into your diet. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger also helps with nausea, lowers blood sugar levels, helps improve various heart disease risk factors and has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.

Greek yogurt dip:

Greek yogurt is a great substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream in dips and dressings due to its thick consistency…

9 Deliciously Sweet Summer Treats Even Diabetics Can Enjoy

Homemade frozen yogurt

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Courtesy ChobaniThe best part of a froyo cup is usually the sweet toppings like crushed cookies, gummy worms, or chopped candy bars you can pile on top. Unfortunately, they add more than a fun twist to dessert—extra calories, carbs, fat, and sugar can quickly add up to unhealthy levels, especially for people with diabetes who need to be critically mindful of what they’re putting in their body in order to keep blood glucose levels in a safe range. “People with diabetes can still enjoy a sweet treat on occasion when their blood sugar levels are well controlled. Try to keep portions small and limited to 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate per serving,” says Melissa Matteo, MSRD, LD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Instead, freeze Chobani’s blended Greek yogurt, which comes in seasonal flavors like watermelon and kiwi. Each cup has about 13 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, and just 15 grams of carbs, the nutrient that raises blood sugar levels the most. Choose healthy toppings like a small handful of chopped nuts, which are filled with healthy fats, fiber, and protein; a small square of crushed antioxidant rich dark chocolate; or a sprinkle of sugar-free cocoa powder.

Pie pops

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The tasty JC’s Pie Pops may have been created by accident (a bowl of Italian custard accidentally froze solid instead of setting), but turns out they’re a sweet treat even diabetics can eat. The line of “nudies” are the best option, with just 18 grams of carbs, four grams of fat, and 120 calories a pop. If you’re indulging in a sweet treat, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels extra carefully and keep careful track of your sugar and carbohydrate intake to ensure you’re not overdoing it the rest of the day or week.

Granita

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Oksana Mizina/ShutterstockA balanced diet is important for everyone to follow, but especially for people with diabetes. Keep things under control by turning your daily serving of fruit into a refreshing frozen treat. “Make a granita…

PepsiCo is testing new recipes

Nooyi accepts a typical Arab welcome: a tiny cup of potent black coffee and a moist date.
Nooyi accepts a typical Arab welcome: a tiny cup of potent black coffee and a moist date.

Indra Nooyi demands attention. Not because she asks for it, but because she deserves it. One of the most powerful female CEOs in the world, her presence – and bright pink suit jacket – dominate the room. But sit her down and the boss of PepsiCo is warm, friendly and personable.

Struck by an opening question that could have derailed the less assured – is PepsiCo’s drive to make its products healthier an admission that they were harming consumers? – she reacts with an evenly-delivered rebuke.

“It’s not a question of harm; society was changing,” Nooyi says.

The Pepsi recipe was first developed by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in the 1880s and the first patent was registered in 1903. Healthier versions are now being invented.

“We went from an active society to a sedentary society and when you go to a sedentary society what you eat and drink has to change. Society was changing much more rapidly than any of us expected and I thought it was an opportunity for PepsiCo to change its product line for this new sedentary population.”

Nooyi is at the PepsiCo innovation centre at Dubai Science Park, where the company’s traditional products are being given Arab makeovers. This is where Lay’s baked potato chips with labneh and mint, 7Up with mint, and Quaker vegetable cumin soup were invented.

The 61-year-old Indian-American takes great interest in the scientific labs that are separated from office desks by glass windows, before she walks into the kitchen where Chef Osama has prepared a spread of local dishes created with PepsiCo’s Quaker oats, including Saudi Arabia’s traditional kabsa and an Emirati breakfast dish called balaleet.

Indra Nooyi enjoyed Arabic produce such as dates while taste-testing healthy uses of PepsiCo products.

Nooyi accepts a typical Arab welcome: a tiny cup of potent black coffee and a moist date. She makes a statement that would surprise most in the Arab world: “I’ve never had dates before”.

Chef Osama hands her a small pot of bircher museli made with Quaker oats and offers an array of dates, mango, honey and other fruits from the Gulf. Nooyi chooses mango because “I grew up with mangoes and guavas”. She is also a fan of the Yemeni honey. “It’s not so sweet as other honey,” she says. “It’s a phenomenal taste.”

But the question, she says, is: “How do we get everyone in the region to eat these healthy foods?”

Pepsi has drawn on creative advertising campaigns for decades, particularly as it competed againt arch rival Coca-Cola.

It may seem paradoxical that one of the world’s biggest sellers of soft drink and snacks is strategising how to entice consumers to healthier options, and perhaps it is partly for public show, but Nooyi has not survived in her role for more than a decade for no reason.

“Had we not changed, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today. There’s no question about it,” she tells Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.

Soft drink – the core of PepsiCo for a century – now accounts for less than 25 percent of the company’s total revenues. And what soft drink is sold contains significantly less sugar, whether it is the standard Pepsi, with 30 percent less, or diet Pepsi with none.

Indra Nooyi sits on US President Donald Trump’s business council.

PepsiCo announced last October that by 2025 two-thirds of its drinks would have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar, per 350 millilitres.

About 25 percent of the company’s global revenue already comes from products it categorises as ‘everyday nutrition’, including Quaker oat products, Aquafina and healthier varieties of snacks, such as Forno (baked Lay’s potato chips) and SunBites.

Messing with the recipe of Pepsi that dates back to the 1880s and earns billions of dollars in revenue annually is potentially a career-ending move. But Nooyi is adamant.

“Clearly society changes and people’s tastes change; companies have to change too. One of the things we do as a consumer products company, we watch consumer trends, we study consumers constantly and we change our direction and our product offering with those consumer trends,” she says, referring to the rapid change in direction towards ‘free-from’ foods, especially sugar.

Chef Osama is tasked with creating healthy dishes with PepsiCo products.

“All of us are members of families … and as you think about the next generation, we are very careful about what we feed them. If you bring those habits into the company you quickly realise the next generation is eating and drinking differently, so here’s a great opportunity for us to cater to their tastes as opposed to trying to say you will eat and drink what we did 10 years ago. So it was a personal experience [that led to the strategy change], no doubt, but it was clearly guided by this humungous opportunity that stood in front of us.”

But convincing consumers that Pepsi remains flavourful, or that baked potato chips are as satisfying as the original fried version millions are accustomed to is not as easy as a new advertising campaign.

“You can’t have it all,” Nooyi concedes. “The original Pepsi, 7Up etcetera, they are phenomenal tasting products. Now when we start lowering the sugar, you can’t have the exact same taste … but it still tastes…

12 Pumpkin Spice Foods You Didn’t Know Existed

Admit it, you get at least a tiny bit giddy when pumpkin spice season (otherwise known as fall) rolls around. But Starbucks is far from the only company featuring the flavor—many brands have jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon and created their own seasonally spiced treats. Many make us wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner (hello, pumpkin-spice oatmeal), but some, well…we’ll let you be your own judge. If you’re feeling adventurous, try these seasonal (and sometimes strange) pumpkin-flavored foods.

RELATED: 17 Delicious Pumpkin Recipes

We’re big fans of starting the morning with a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal. For a fast, easy, and seasonal take on this fiber-filled breakfast, Quaker has rolled out a pumpkin spice version of its convenient instant packets. Quaker Pumpkin Spice Limited Edition Instant Oatmeal ($8, amazon.com)

For another way to begin your day, chow down on a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats layered with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Though this cereal is high in fiber, at 6 grams per serving, watch your portions—it’s also fairly high in sugar. Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice ($11, amazon.com)

Get a healthy serving of protein-packed Greek yogurt AND your pumpkin fix in one sitting with Chobani’s latest seasonal option. Oh and don’t worry, the fall flavor invasion doesn’t stop with the pumpkin yogurt—Chobani’s grab-and-go cup also comes with piecrust crumbles, crunchy pecans & salty-sweet glazed pumpkin seeds. Chobani Flip Limited Batch Pumpkin Harvest Crisp ($2, freshdirect.com) RELATED: 4 Things You Can Make With Greek Yogurt

Just in case…

Recipe of the Day: Honey-Vanilla Poached Apricots

This summer fruit recipe could work as a tasty breakfast or dessert–you choose! It’s sweet, but also savory. The Greek yogurt used as a base for the dish can be used as a healthy substitue for…

How to Make Cloud Bread

Is it a pancake? Is it an omelet? Is it bread? Well, it’s sort of all of the above. This ultra-light and easy-to-make cloud bread will be your new go-to for sandwiches or pretty toast creations. Not only is this super simple recipe a gluten-free way to satisfy your carb cravings, but because it only contains Greek yogurt and eggs, it’s also a protein powerhouse!

RELATED: 3 Delicious Protein Pancake Recipes

Watch this video from Cooking Light to learn how to make this fluffy, 2-ingredient “bread.” Start by separating egg yolks and whites into two different bowls. Then add baking powder to the egg whites and whip them together with an…

Yummy Breakfast Idea: Baked Apple with Greek Yogurt

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Creamy and sweet, this snack or breakfast idea only tastes like treat.

When the weather gets cooler, I crave apple pie. Maybe it’s because in Minnesota, where I grew up, we lived close to an orchard where they grew the most delicious apples (Haralson variety; developed by the University of Minnesota in 1922) and baked their own apple pie. Every October, we’d make our pilgrimage to this orchard and load up on bags of fresh-picked Haralsons and homemade apple pies. So now, I can’t even think about fall without thinking about apples and apple pie. And I pretty much can’t eat apple pie without a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

This healthy breakfast or snack idea combines warm, sweet baked apples…

The Most Annoying Health Foods of 2016

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

When you first discovered avocado toast and shared it on Instagram – #BestBrunchEver! – you probably thought nothing could top it. But the dish isn’t the only healthy food that drove double taps this year. Here are all the healthy dishes that filled everyone’s feeds in 2016, beginning with the photogenic favorite:

1. Avocado Toast

It’s not hard to see why avocado toast got so popular among healthy eaters: Spread for spread, avocado has roughly one-fourth the calories of butter (which has made quite the comeback this year) with healthy fats and fiber to boot. It’s why you probably don’t even mind paying entrée prices for a simple bread and spread, a dish that used to come free with your eggs. #WorthIt.

2. Ricotta Toast

Although ricotta contains more calories than mashed avocado, andmore than its healthy dairy cousins, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, ricotta toast is typically a lighter choice than, say, a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, particularly when the ricotta toast is topped with fruit. That it’s served open-faced makes it bonafide Instagram candy – sometimes quite literally when served with jam or honey, which can contribute lots of sugar (with a side of unsustainable energy). Oh well. How pretty?!

3. Sweet Potato Toast

As would be expected in 2016, the year when toast took really over, healthy eaters picked up on this curious way to use sweet potatoes. You slice them up really thin, bake or toast them until they’re crisp, then top them with cheese, dried fruit, or the spread of your choice. Never mind that no one said potatoes are a health food you should be eating all the time. Sweet potatoes still serve up vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, and unlike bread, they’re vibrant, so no filter needed.

4. Zoodles

Noodles made from spiralized zucchini have fewer calories and carbs than regular pasta, which make them an awesome alternative for those who pay attention to that stuff. Plus they photograph just as well as pasta, which makes them equally likable for both the carb lovers and carb counters who follow your every bite.

5. Matcha Desserts

Dessert chefs have decided to lace their treats with matcha, the antioxidant-rich powder made from green tea leaves and traditionally used in Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies….