A good quality sauce or condiment is a simple yet delicious way to add a true flavor boost to any meal. But, most brands on the market are loaded with excessive amounts of sodium, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other not-so-great ingredients. If you’re looking to make some healthy changes to your diet but don’t want to sacrifice flavor, there are still a variety of sauces available on the market for you to enjoy.
The GH Nutrition Lab thoroughly evaluated a variety of store-bought sauces, specifically zoning in on nutrition fact labels and ingredient lists. We looked for products in each category that have lower amounts of added sugar and sodium than their competitors, while also prioritizing choices that are packed with real ingredients (that you can read and pronounce).
Not only are our experts looking for clean and minimal ingredients, but we also make sure that the ingredients make sense for the particular product. For example, something like marinara sauce should consist of tomatoes, spices, and a touch of salt (not high fructose corn syrup and red dye number 40). We’ve done all the guess work for you and have rounded up our the healthiest sauces on the market.
Tomatillo Taco Sauce
Kevin’s Natural Foods
Kevin’s Natural Foods boasts an incredible line of simmer sauces ranging from tikka masala to teriyaki sauce. Our favorite pick is their Tomatillo Taco Sauce which is perfect on homemade chicken lettuce wraps or in your own burrito bowl. The first four ingredients are tomatillos, water, onion, and roasted poblano chilies (the rest of the ingredient list is just as impressive), and the two-tablespoon serving only has 10 calories, 115 mg sodium, and 1 gram of sugar.
Muhammara Red Pepper Simmer Sauce
Chosen Foods is a top pick in the GH Nutrition Lab because of the quality and flavor of their products. Known for their avocado oil, Chosen Foods has expanded to include a line of simmer sauces. Their Muhammara Red Pepper Simmer Sauce brings Middle Eastern cuisine straight to your kitchen, and the nutrition facts are pretty incredible. A 1/4 cup serving of the sauce contains only 70 calories, no added sugar, and 340mg sodium which is decent for a simmer sauce. The ingredients are also quite impressive, and they use pomegranate juice for a hint of natural sweetness.
Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce
Looking to change things up for dinner? Saffron Road’s Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce brings an authentic thai dish to your kitchen in just a few minutes. A 1/4 serving of the sauce only has 60 calories, 220 mg sodium, and 3 grams of added sugar (much better counts than most). The first few ingredients include water, coconut milk, green anaheim pepper puree, and ginger.
Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
This USDA Organic ketchup from Primal Kitchen is a favorite in the GH Nutrition Lab. Ketchup is notorious for its high sugar counts and ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, but this superstar ketchup is made with tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and spices (that’s it). Free from high fructose corn syrup and any added sugar, this is a winner for us in the nutrition department and it tastes great too. Primal Kitchen also sell BBQ sauces and more items that boast great nutrition facts.
Light Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce
What is life without fettuccine alfredo? But a standard fettucine alfredo entree at the Olive Garden packs in more than 1,000 calories (yikes!). This lightened up sauce from Classico has 65% less fat and 55% less calories than other leading brands’ alfredo sauces. It’s made with ingredients like cream and Parmesan cheese, but only has 35 calories per serving and 2 grams of fat.
Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Tomato sauce is notorious for high sodium counts and laundry list of ingredients. Plus, some lower sodium varieties just spike up the added sugar. Cucina Antica provides a delicious tasting, traditional tomato basil sauce with real ingredients you can pronounce and no added sugar. A 1/2 cup serving only has 45 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 230 mg sodium which is considerably less than other brands.
Low-Fodmap Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
FODY Food Co
If you have IBS and are following a low-fodmap diet, you know that it can be very hard to find a pasta sauce that fits the bill. Since onions and garlic are high-fodmap, most tomato sauces are already off the menu. But FODY Foods has designed a line of all digestive-friendly sauces and condiments that are free from those high-fodmap irritating foods. A whole one cup serving only has 70 calories and 300mg sodium, and the ingredients are simple: chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and basil.
Spicy Brown Mustard
Mustard is typically a healthier choice compared to most condiments, but sodium is something to look out for. Not only is this spicy brown mustard the perfect delicious addition to your lunchtime sandwich, but it only has 5 calories per teaspoon and 50mg sodium (making it a low-sodium pick).
Original Marinara Sauce
Yo Mama’s Foods
Yo Mama’s Sauce has over 1,000 reviews on Amazon with an overall 4.3 out of 5 star rating, and no wonder it does. We were impressed by its fresh and clean ingredients list, as well as the low sodium count (only 130mg sodium for 1/2 cup of sauce). Free from added sugars and only 60 calories per serving, this is a no-brainer addition to any meal.
Traditional Hot Sauce
Hot. Sauce. On. Everything. A teaspoon serving of Siete traditional hot sauce only has 45mg sodium, contains no added sugar, and tastes great. Plus, we are obsessed with the stellar ingredients list: water, apple cider vinegar, golden beets, puya pepper, sea salt, flax seeds, garlic, chia seeds, black pepper, oregano, and orange peel.
Wicked Habanero Pepper Wing Sauce
Stubb’s is a favorite of ours; not only is it wickedly delicious, but the nutrition facts are superior to many other brands on the market. One tablespoon of the stuff has 10 calories, 170mg sodium, and no high fructose corn syrup.
Organic BBQ Sauce
Most BBQ sauces contain high fructose corn syrup and other additives, but this sauces gets its sweetness from California dates. A one-tablespoon serving only has 37 calories and 36mg of sodium. The ingredients include dates, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, spices, salt and pepper.
This avocado sauce from Kumana is perfect on tacos, quesadillas, and homemade burrito bowls for a total flavor boost. It’s also plant-based and non-GMO project verified. A one-tablespoon serving is only 15 calories, contains no added sugar, and is packed with wholesome ingredients including avocado, parsley, and cilantro.
Mild Taco Simmer Sauce
Simply Organic is known for their spices, but their simmer sauces are equally as delicious (and they’re 100% USDA organic). A two-tablespoon serving of the sauce has 15 calories and 210mg sodium which is far less than other taco sauces or seasonings on the market. The ingredients consist of tomatoes, roasted chili pepper, garlic, onion, and tons of herbs and spices.
Vegan Kale Cashew Basil Pesto
Who doesn’t love a good pesto? But if you’re vegan, it can be tough to find a pesto without cheese. This creamy vegan pesto from Trader Joe’s is inexpensive but packed with tons of flavor and fresh, wholesome ingredients. The cashews substitute for the parmesan cheese (but you would never know by the taste of it). A 1/4 cup serving contains no added sugar, has 240mg sodium, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 180 calories, which is pretty good compared to most pesto brands that rack up these numbers.
Otamot (tomato spelled backwards) was created by a dad who wanted to find a way to sneak in more vegetables into his picky-eater daughter’s diet. The essential sauce from Otamot does just that, packing in a variety of antioxidant-rich vegetables and wholesome ingredients. A 1/2 cup serving has 90 calories, 6 grams of fiber (wow!), and 350mg sodium which is considerably less than other tomato sauces on the market. Plus, it’s free from added sugar and is one of the best tasting tomato sauces we have tried.
Family Marinara, Light in Sodium
Amy’s boasts an incredible line of all organic products, and they often offer a lower-sodium option for some of their soups and sauces. This light in sodium family marinara is simple and delicious, made from fresh ingredients, and has 50% less sodium than their regular pasta sauce.
Looking for a soy-sauce substitute without the soy and excessive sodium? Look no further than coconut aminos. Made from organic coconut tree sap, this alternative performs just like soy sauce but has a fraction of the sodium. One teaspoon only has 90mg of sodium, making it a low-sodium option and 73% less sodium than regular soy sauce. The Coconut Secret brand version is 100% USDA organic, vegan, and contains no MSG.
No Soy Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade
We love Primal Kitchen’s line of sauces and condiments, and this no-soy teriyaki is unique to other sauces on the market. Made with coconut aminos and 100% USDA organic, it tastes great and gets its sweetness from dates and orange juice. A one-tablespoon serving has only 15 calories, 3 grams of carbs, and 220mg sodium (much better than typical teriyaki sauces available).
Vegetable Taco Skillet Cooking Sauce
Make the ultimate vegan tacos with this delicious veggie taco sauce from Frontera. A 1/4 cup serving only has 20 calories and 270mg of sodium. The ingredients are where this sauce really shines and includes fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, anaheim and poblano peppers, and roasted garlic and onions.
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