Kids and Condiments

When I am faced with desperate parents with a truly fussy kid, I advise them to help their child find their condiment. Choosing at least one flavour that is loved makes just about everything go down a little bit easier. Of course, it isn’t the perfect way, but it does unbuckle the power struggle and help get more foods into the diet when everything tastes like at least something your child loves.

Not all condiments are created equal, though, and it helps to think outside the squeeze bottle. Most have their pluses and minuses but their key feature is that the favourite should be freely available whenever “whine” is served.

Be prepared to be creative and flexible when you take your child shopping for his or her choice. Let him choose one bottle each time to try out new flavours and try to guide toward the higher ranking options. This can be a palate expanding expedition or a hopelessly expensive tromp through the bottled goods aisle. If the flavours and choices grow with your child, you are on to a good thing! Condiments are not marketed to kids with licensed characters, so they are less likely to be swayed by their favourite smiley face.

The best fridges are loaded with many flavours of mustard which is the condiment that is lowest in calories but high in nutritive value. All you have to do is avoid the honey mustards and mustard blends and you can’t go wrong. Mustard is always made from mustard seed which is a high anti-oxidant spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. If it is coloured at all it is usually with trace amounts of turmeric which is another potent anti-cancer spice. Rarely made with sugar (thus the “avoid the honeyed versions” note) and only mixed with vinegar and very little salt, it offers zing for a caloric pittance.

Condiment
Pro
Con
Nutritional Rank
Mustard
zero calories but high nutri
sharp taste
1
Applesauce
best if unsweetened
good dip/poor dressing
2
Honey Mustard
10-20 calories/tbsp
sodium
3
BBQ sauce
tomato based
too much sugar
4
Ketchup
more tomato per tsp
high salt/sugar
5
Relish/chutney
sneaky vegetable
high salt/sugar/calories
6
Dill relish
lower calorie
high salt
7
Bottled Salad Dressing
gets veg in
high cal/bad fats
8
Mayo
ok if gets more nutri foods in
100 cal / tbsp
9
Cheese sauce
good for cooked veg
saturated fat+salt
10

If and when parents get push back about a new or particular food, it is a worthwhile technique to have up one’s sleeve. “Go get your condiment, Jojo!” sounds and feels much better than some of the alternatives.

Mayo Free Cucumber Salad

I adore multi-purpose recipes that just keep on giving without compromise. This salad is fresh, light and creamy on the first go around and the next day it replaces mayo in tuna salad. Just can’t get enough of these time-saving tongue-tickling tips.

Serving Size: 8
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

  • 3 English cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch white pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint — chopped
  • 2 cups plain yogurt

Chop cucumbers. Sprinkle with salt and allow water to drain through a sieve into a bowl for half an hour.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together honey and rice vinegar and stir in pepper, mint and yogurt. Stir in cucumber.

Serve as is or over a bed of mixed greens.

Tip: Any remaining can be used as a mayo substitute for egg salad or tuna salad sandwiches.