Dips are perfect for snacks and party food, but it’s easy to forget that they’re often high in calories, sugar, salt, saturated fats, and other ingredients you’re probably best to avoid.
So what’s the answer? Well, there isn’t just one. For some unhealthy dips, you can simply substitute some of the ingredients for much healthier ones. But it also pays to know which traditional dips are inherently healthier than others. Oh, and avoid store-bought.
The good news is you don’t have to compromise on taste. Here are 10 healthy dips that prove it.
Spinach dip isn’t just one thing – there are many variants out there – but if you want to keep it low on cholesterol and sodium, you’re going to want to ensure 2 things. Firstly, to achieve the desired creaminess, choose a recipe that uses yoghurt as the base rather than mayonnaise or cream cheese. Secondly, forgo punching up the flavour with powdered soups or stocks and opt for herbs and spices instead.
This healthy spinach dip recipe at Good Cheap Eats uses dried herbs and frozen spinach, which means you can always have the ingredients stocked up and ready to go. Of course, you can always chop up some fresh leaves instead, if you prefer.
Packed with protein and all the best types of carbohydrate and fat, this Middle Eastern icon might just be the closest any dip gets to being a bonafide superfood. Spend With Pennies has a classic garbanzo-rich hummus recipe, but we’re partial to jazzing it up a bit. The hard part is choosing whether to make roasted asparagus hummus or spinach artichoke hummus. Why not both?
While we’re on the subject of healthy Middle Eastern dips, we’ve got to make time for baba ghanoush. Done right, this delightful aubergine dip is gloriously garlicky, satisfyingly smokey, and good enough to eat with a spoon. Also, like hummus, it’s nutritionally rich in its traditional form – no need to compromise on flavour for the sake of your well-being. Make sure you do it right by checking out this baba ghanoush recipe from Delish.
You might want to lighten the mayo load for this recipe when making it thick enough for dipping. The Schmidty Wife’s healthy yoghurt ranch dip recipe doesn’t completely eschew the mayonnaise – it still tastes quintessentially ranchy – but it’s balanced with yoghurt to make it perfect for crackers and crudités. And better for you too.
Beetroot is not only delicious but also packed with iron, potassium, magnesium, and fibre, as well as vitamins A, B6, B9 (folic acid), and C. It’s also naturally sweet enough for kids to enjoy – just be careful of stains. This beetroot dip from Healthy Little Foodies is also packed with protein thanks to the inclusion of creaminess-enhancing cannellini beans.
Easy homemade salsa
Who doesn’t love salsa? Sure, this easy homemade salsa recipe from A Pinch of Healthy isn’t as easy as buying a jar of store-bought, but it’s worth setting aside just 5 minutes to make a salsa dip that’s fresher, more flavourful, and not loaded with added sugar. It’s also low in carbs and calories, as well as being a good source of vitamin C. At the very least, it’ll make you feel better for inhaling that entire bag of tortilla chips.
Black bean dip
Black beans are cheap, low in calories and high in protein and fibre. In dip form, they make a mouthwatering addition to Mexican and Tex-Mex meals, combining well with guacamole, adobo, and, if you like your food to set your tongue alight, fiery chipotle too.
This black bean dip recipe from The Lemon Bowl adds a classic blend of lime juice, cilantro and spices to the black beans, but also a dollop of salsa. And yes, in case you’re wondering, you can just make a big batch of the easy homemade salsa above and set aside a cup of it for this recipe. Two birds, one stone, as they say.
Garlic avocado spread
On the subject of Mexican food, this dreamily creamy garlic avocado spread recipe at The Healthline isn’t exactly guacamole, but it does take an easy-to-make dip and make it even easier, with just 2 ingredients (not hard to guess what they are), plus salt and pepper. Avocados are full of fat, but the monounsaturated kind, which means you get all the deliciousness of fatty foods without the blood-vessel-stuffing fallout. They’re also rich in vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants.
Skinny french onion dip
French onion dip provides a satisfying blend of taste and texture that’s surprisingly versatile. You’ll need to be patient and attentive while caramelising your onions but, boy, it’s definitely worth it.
As with a few of the dips on this list, it raises the question: to mayo or not to mayo? Fortunately, Gimme Some Oven has a mayo-free french onion dip recipe you can rely on.
Skinny pumpkin dip
You may not even have heard of this one. That’s because this pumpkin dip recipe from Yummy Healthy Easy is intended not for chips or crackers or carrot spears, but for cookies and sweet treats. Fortunately, it happens to be low in fat and calories, so while the things you’re dipping into it might not be so healthy, the dip itself is, adding a welcome addition of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and phosphorus.
How to eat your dips
You probably already have a few go-to snacks for dipping, but why not broaden your horizons? Try serving up some of these at your next finger buffet:
- Potato or tortilla chips (of course)
- Crackers and breadsticks
- Sliced pita bread
- Crudités (thin vegetable spears, often cucumber, carrot, and bell pepper)
- Celery sticks
- Shrimp and seafood
- Cheese cubes
- Meat cubes
- Falafel balls
- Pineapple spears
- Mini sandwiches
And remember, if you really want to indulge, file away the healthy dips for another time and try some of these 16 summer dips instead.