Healthy Eating

Hummus: Not Always a Healthy Choice

Hummus has become more popular as a dipping sauce or condiment of choice for the health conscious.

It is a traditional Middle Eastern spread made of pureed chickpeas,olive oil, and seasonings.

Although it seems healthy, always double check your favorite brand’s ingredient list and what you are eating the hummus with.

Popular Hummus Brands

  • Sabra: 70-90 calories, 6-7 g fat, 125-135 mg sodium, potassium sorbate as the preservative. The negative is that Sabra uses soybean oil (may also use canola oil) as the main fat source which is a polyunsaturated fat and does not have anti-inflammatory properties like olive oil.
  • Athenos: 50 calories, 3 g fat, 140-160 mg sodium. Made with olive oil, and uses sodium benzoate as the preservative. FYI: When sodium benzoate combines with potassium benzoate and vitamin C, it forms small amounts of benzene which is carcinogen.
  • Cedar’s: Average is 50 calories, 3 g fat, 120 mg sodium. Organic and fat free varieties available. Uses a blend of oils, and free of preservatives.

Higher Calorie Restaurant Hummus

Negatives: Restaurants will usually add extra oil to their hummus. It is often a thinner consistency and topped with an extra drizzle of olive oil. Watch out for processed white breads or crackers that may be served with the hummus. Ask for sliced vegetables to keep it healthy.

Positives: There are usually less preservatives and additives; the hummus is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats from the oils, and it is a great way to add flavor to your vegetables.

Make Hummus at Home

homemade-hummus

You can make four or five times the amount of hummus for the same cost (or less!) as one store bought container, and you will get rid of the extra preservatives and some sodium.

Longer Method: Take the chickpeas/garbanzo beans, and heat them on the stove top with seasonings. Then, blend or puree with lemon juice, tahini (sesame seed paste), and olive oil.

Quick Method: Buy dehydrated chickpea meal, and then stir in water, spices, tahini, and olive oil. This process only takes 5 minutes, and I have found you can achieve a smoother, yet thicker consistency.

Overall, hummus gives us a variety of flavor options for making vegetables more exciting. Hummus can also take the place of a mayonnaise or cheese on a sandwich!

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