Dip It Real Good A Healthy Alternative to Snacking

Black bean and goat cheese tacos

Warm weather brings barbecues, pool parties, picnics, and more — and what could be a more perfect snack than a dip? Versatile and easy to make, dips are a real crowd-pleaser at parties, make a great snack at home, and can even be used in other recipes to add more flavor. However, not all dips are created equal: some are packed with vitamins and nutrients essential to a healthy diet and encourage a higher daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Change How You Dip
Increasing fruit and vegetable intake, among other nutritional benefits, is particularly good for cardiovascular health. People who eat fruits and vegetables three times a day, as opposed to once a day, are 25% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 27% less likely to have a stroke, 42% less likely to die from a stroke.
Many dips actually contain vegetables or fruits, but it is equally important to look at what you’re dipping. Unhealthy options will lessen any benefits you would normally gain from eating a healthy dip. Instead, choose snacks like pretzels or pita chips, which are often low in fat. To further your fruit and vegetable intake, try using fresh fruits and vegetables as vehicles for your favorite dip.

Great Dips That Pack a Nutritional Punch

Guacamole Dip
The health benefits of guacamole are numerous. The base of this dip is the well-known superfood avocado, which is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin E. Avocados have high levels of oleic acid, also known as Omega-9, an unsaturated fatty acid. The standard guacamole recipe can also include raw garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and onions, which are all rich in vitamins. Occasionally, a guacamole recipe will contain nutrient-rich tomatoes or jalapenos as well.

Guacamole can be as mild or spicy as you make it, and ingredients can be omitted or added, so you can certainly find a guacamole recipe that suits you. Try it on its own or spice up other recipes with guacamole, such as tacos, nachos, sandwiches.
Greek Yogurt Dip
From veggie dip to a sweet honey yogurt dip for fruit, yogurt is a viable base for any creamy, low fat dip. In any yogurt dip, substitute protein-packed Greek yogurt for plain yogurt. The thicker texture of Greek yogurt also gives Greek yogurt dips more substance and a creamier texture than those using plain yogurt. Savory dips are excellent accompaniments to vegetables, and they work well as sauces. Put Mediterranean dip with lettuce wraps for a light meal, or make your own gyros and top with homemade tzatziki, which is a cucumber dill yogurt dip.
Hummus
Did you know that the weekly recommendation of beans can be filled by just two spoonfuls of hummus? Hummus is an excellent way to easily increase your intake of legumes, which, just like avocados, have been linked with cardiovascular health. Eating hummus four or more times a week lessens your risk of cardiovascular disease by 11% and lowers the risk of Coronary Heart Disease by 22%. Try it as a spread on a smoked turkey sandwich for a flavorful lunch, or enjoy your hummus the traditional way, with pita chips.

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