Lets face it kids LOVE to dip!!! My children will eat just about any food as long as there is dip available. When my twins entered the “dipping” phase or toddler-hood, I was really uneasy about the increased sugar, sodium, and preservatives that they would be exposed to in things like ketchup and store bought salad dressings. So I decided to get creative and think of how I could offer them healthier choices than ketchup and Ranch dressing. If your children like dips OR if you have picky eaters and want to try the strategy of offering dips, here are some ideas. The other great thing is that you join in with them eating these dips with lots of veggies and fruit.
1) Hummus. You can use store bought or make your own. If you are using store bought, choose ones with as low sodium content as possible. Not only is hummus a yummy (and low mess) dip, it is jam packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, fibre, iron, and magnesium. I like the ones by Summer Fresh, Fontaine Saute, and Sabra.
2) Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is great for SO MANY THINGS. You will see me post about this amazing food a lot for various reasons. As a dip, it can be used for fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, etc! You can use plain or flavoured depending on what you are dipping. You can also add it to other dips to make them healthier and/or creamier (see below). I personally like the Liberte brand, but there are other great ones out there too. For a thick and creamy dip use either the 5% fat or the 9% fat choices. The lower fat products are great for eating but do not work well for dips.
3) Guacamole. If your kids are like mine and love avocado, why not turn it into a dip?! You can easily make your own! Mash up 1-2 avocados and stir in a squeeze or two of lime juice until you get the consistency you desire. For a creamier option, add a bit of 5% or 9% fat vanilla Greek yogurt.
4) Greek Ketchup. If you have children that like ketchup on anything and everything, try using 1/2 the amount of ketchup and mixing it with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. This will still be a red dip but will have half of the preservatives and way more nutrition. For even more nutrient boost, try adding pureed butternut squash or sweet potato in too. I am not a big fan of “hiding” food as it is important that our children are exposed to the actual flavour of whole foods, but this nutrient boost is just too hard to resist.
5) Salad dressings. Most store bought salad dressings are full of preservatives and sodium so making your own is great. I will be doing a future post on my favourite homemade salad dressings. Until then, and/or if you don’t have time to make your own, try purchasing the freshest ones possible. You will find these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. My favourite of these is the Renees line.
Until next time…happy dipping!
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