7 Best Healthy Hummus Brands to Buy, According to Dietitians
Hummus is everywhere. The creamy chickpea dip, which originated in the Middle East, has quickly become one of the most popular food items around, and it's easy to see why. The savory spread is traditionally made from cooked chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice along with flavors like garlic or roasted red peppers. Hummus makes a great addition to a sandwich or wrap, (who needs high-calorie mayonnaise?) acts as a great dip for veggies or crackers when you're in the mood for an easy and healthy snack, and can even be used to top a salad or enhance a salad dressing.
What's more? In addition to its convenience and versatility, hummus' nutrition profile is nothing to scoff at. In its purest form (ie. without any additives, artificial ingredients, or extra sodium), hummus is a good source of iron, protein, and fiber, while also being low in carbs.
"Two tablespoons of hummus provide a decent source of protein (2 grams), fiber (~2 grams), iron (2-4% of the daily value), and is rich in many other vitamins/minerals," explains registered dietitian Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness Nutrition Studios. "It is a plant protein and therefore low-calorie (about 60-70 calories per serving), low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, which are often high in animal protein sources."
In other words, hummus is basically a weight loss dream. In fact, a 2010 study in the journal Advances in Nutrition linked a higher intake of legumes like chickpeas to lower body weight and improved satiety.
However, as is common when a food becomes trendy, there are now dozens of hummus varieties to choose from and not all of them deserve a place in your diet. With that in mind, we've consulted with a team of registered dietitians and nutrition experts to find out how they distinguish the best store-bought hummus brands of the bunch from the worst.
How do you choose the best hummus?
When choosing the "best" hummus around, there are multiple factors to consider. "In general, you want to keep an eye out for the sodium content and the fiber content of whatever hummus brand you are choosing," says registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living. Try to choose a hummus that has the least amount of sodium and the highest amount of fiber.
Scroll down for specific factors to keep an eye on:
- Sodium: When it comes to sodium, less is more. "Many hummus products are considered 'low sodium' foods, in that they have less than 140 milligrams sodium per serving. That's great!" says Miller. "If you're deciding between two versions of hummus, opt for the one that is lower in sodium."
- Fiber: The satiating nutrient, which is found in chickpeas, is part of what makes hummus such a healthy food. When buying hummus, look for one that contains fiber and consider eating it with another high-fiber food. "Most Americans do not consume the recommended fiber intake for adults (25 grams fiber per day for women; 38 grams fiber per day for men). If you pair hummus with vegetables or whole-grain, healthy crackers, you can have a great, high fiber snack or meal," Miller notes.
- Iron: The mineral, which improves muscle strength and concentration, also boosts immunity. Though it's not found in all hummus varieties, look for ones with added nutrients such as this.
- Simple ingredient lists: Since hummus is basically chickpeas, tahini and spices, there's no need for a long ingredient list, especially when that list includes things you can't even pronounce. "The simpler the ingredient list, the better, so be sure to avoid any brand that has unnecessary additives or extra oils," says registered dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, LDN. "Ideally, look for heart healthy oils like olive or avocado oil."
Here are the best hummus brands to buy
Keep reading to find out the 7 best store-bought hummuses our pros recommend!
"Selecting a product that most closely fits the Dietary Guidelines is a great place to start," says White, who is a fan of this brand and its many varieties. "An ideal product will provide more protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and less sodium, sugar, and saturated fat." Indeed, Hope is a great source of protein and fiber while boasting no sugar, very little saturated fat and only a reasonable amount of sodium.
For the same reasons listed above, White is also a fan of Ithaca Hummus and its many flavors. "Generally, the more ingredients you can pronounce, the less processing the product has undergone," he adds. "It will likely include more 'whole food' ingredients." Considering this hummus contains only chickpeas, water, tahini, cold pressed lemon juice, organic sunflower oil, vinegar, salt, fresh garlic, cumin and crushed red pepper, it easily passes the ingredient test.
"This is great because it has only 60 milligrams sodium per serving and 3 grams of fiber," says Miller. "It's the best of both worlds in terms of keeping the sodium down and upping the fiber compared to other options."
STAY INFORMED: Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.
Lemein, who cautioned against buying a hummus with too many ingredients and additives such as unhealthy oils, is a fan of this version. "One of my favorite brands is Cava, which actually doesn't have any added oil at all," she explains. "It just uses the oil from tahini instead and makes for a great product that is even lower in calories than some others."
"I grew up eating homemade hummus as my family is from the Middle East, so I would like to call myself an expert!" says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH and bestselling author of The One One One Diet. "Either I make my own, or buy Sabra. As a nutritionist, I recommend Sabra Organic Hummus to my clients. It is a great dip, or spread, and can even be used instead of salad dressing. I love Sabra! In addition to the many flavors and options, they also offer 2-ounce snackers which are perfect for on the go, and an organic variety if you prefer organic foods. Lower is sodium than other brands, Sabra Organic has 130 milligrams of sodium in each 2 tbsp. Serving."
"When choosing a quality hummus, I'm looking for no vegetable oils, which are linked to several diseases including cardiovascular health," says Deidre Bloomquist, a functional nutritionist who works with Invigor Medical. "I'm also looking at sodium levels and any added ingredients such as sugar, potassium sorbate, and artificial ingredients." Since Abraham's is made without vegetable oils and other additives, it has earned Bloomquist's seal of approval.
"Hannah does not include vegetable oils, which are responsible for increasing inflammation in the body," says Bloomquist. The brand is also low in calories and has two grams of fiber per serving. Stock up during your next bulk buy run. Hannah hummus is one of the 35 Cheap Costco Buys That Make the Membership Worth It
Ingredients to avoid
Now that you know what to look for in a hummus, it's also crucial that you know what ingredients to avoid when choosing a hummus.
- Sodium: While some sodium in hummus is fine (and expected,) too much salt can have an adverse impact on your health. "A diet that is high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure and fluid buildup in our tissues," says Miller, who suggests buying a hummus with 140 milligrams of sodium per serving or less. "Eating lots of sodium can make us retain water weight and look bloated. Sodium is present in processed foods, fast food, salt, many canned foods and premade foods, condiments and sauces. So, try to reduce consumption of sodium in the diet."
- Vegetable oils: Again, some oil in hummus is fine, but as with most things, not all oils are created equal. While olive oil has its benefits, canola oil in hummus is a red flag. "Canola oil is the big thing to look for when choosing a quality hummus," says Bloomquist. "Traditionally hummus uses olive oil, but canola is often used since it's a more cost-effective alternative. However, canola oil is well-known for its ability to cause health problems."
Here are the worst hummus brands you can buy
Keep reading to find out the 3 store-bought hummus brands our pros suggest you stay away from.
"Ortia is one of the most unhealthy hummus brands available due to its high sodium levels—the Southwestern Spice flavor contains 150 milligrams per serving—and use of canola oil," says Bloomquist.
"This hummus contains 170 milligrams of sodium and only has 1 gram of fiber per serving," says Miller. "Overall, you may think that the difference between hummus brands is negligible, however all Americans need to work on decreasing their overall intake of sodium and increasing their overall intake of fiber, so some hummus brands can help you do that better than others." Speaking of increasing intake of fiber, how about stocking up on the 25 Best High-Fiber Snacks to Buy That Keep You Full?
"I would caution the sweet hummus varieties," says Lemein. "While these are definitely not bad, it is important to remember they are still a source of added sugar, so portion sizes are important." This Sabra version, for example, boasts 6 grams of sugar per serving. Need help with your portions so you can indulge in this Sabra hummus without overdoing it? Don't miss these 18 Easy Ways to Control Your Portion Sizes.