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5 Best Condiments to Help Make Healthy Dinners in a Snap, Says Dietitian

Quickly cooking a healthy, delicious meal might be easier than you think, thanks to these condiments.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

We all know that eating healthy meals is incredibly important if we are trying to support a healthy lifestyle. But for those of us who are juggling way too much in our lives, whipping up a nutritious and balanced meal is easier said than done. As a registered dietitian and busy mom who certainly doesn't have hours to spend in the kitchen every night, I have found some condiments that I lean on to make my dinners uniquely delicious in a snap. Using some unique products and some out-of-the-box thinking, I am able to create nutritious and delicious meals in minutes.

If you are like me and you want to eat healthfully and you simply don't have the time to whip up homemade dishes every evening, here are 5 condiments to have on your radar that can help you take basic dishes from ho-hum to pretty darn impressive. And for more tips to help you decide which condiments are worth stocking up on and which ones you may want to leave on shelves, be sure to also check out The 4 Worst Condiments for Blood Sugar, According to a Dietitian.

Greek yogurt

yogurt walnuts blueberries

Think Greek yogurt is just for breakfast parfaits? Think again! Greek yogurt can give a satisfying zing to a slew of simple dishes, and it adds a boost of live cultures that can support gut health to your meal, too. Using a plain Greek yogurt and adding it to baked potatoes, pancake batter, and even coleslaw recipes can give dishes a unique taste with some extra nutrition to boot.

Store-bought jarred pesto

jar of pesto

Sure, jarred pesto is traditionally used as a sauce, but this basil-based sauce is so much more than a pasta topping—it can be used to elevate many dishes in a snap! I love using a quality jarred pesto as a marinade for chicken, as a condiment for veggie and cheese sandwiches, and as a dip for a hearty cheesy bread. While it is true that there is nothing quite like a homemade pesto, leaning on a jarred one that is made with quality ingredients is a great second-choice.

 The Best & Worst Pesto Sauces—Ranked!

Garlic-infused mayonnaise

Garlic-infused Mayonnaise

We know that adding mayonnaise to dishes is nothing new. However, leaning on a garlicky mayonnaise can take your chicken salad, sandwich, or burger from standard to phenomenally delicious. To make this condiment, you can simply mix some finely chopped garlic, a touch of lemon juice, and some mayonnaise together. Alternatively, you can lean on a store-bought version of garlic-enriched mayo for an easy condiment that requires no prep. (And for optimal health benefits, go for an avocado- or olive oil-based mayo.)

Peanut dipping sauce

Peanut Dipping Sauce

No matter whether you make it yourself or you buy a jarred version, a peanut dipping sauce can be used for so much more than—well, dipping. A delicious peanut sauce can be added to cooked or raw vegetables for a satisfying side, can be coated on chicken for a peanuty protein dish, and even used on pasta for a nutty starchy side. You may have to add some water or oil to "cut" the sauce if it is too thick. But ultimately, using this sauce should lend itself to a simple dish that takes very little effort to make.

Dark chocolate tahini spread

Dark Chocolate Tahini Spread

The success of every dinner is perhaps best measured by the sweet grand finale that is dessert.  Many of us are very familiar with hazelnut chocolate spreads that taste great, but they don't offer much in the nutrition department. Leaning on a dark chocolate tahini spread wherever the classic hazelnut spread is used can make dishes just as enjoyable to eat, but with some important healthy fats and far less sugar. For a quick and easy dessert, simply drizzle some chocolate spread on fresh fruit for a decadent and antioxidant-packed treat.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren