Dips are more than just a snack food. They can be used as a spread, are great in salads, and can be served with vegetables.
The variety of dips available is vast, from the old favourites such as creamy onion, to the hummus dips, and yoghurt or feta-based dips.
Legumes and vegetables
Dips are a great way to introduce legumes and increase vegetables in your diet, in turn adding fibre. Not all products state the fibre content, so we like those that do. The hummus-based dips are traditionally made from chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. There are many variations of traditional hummus, often with added vegetables such as beetroot, kumara, pumpkin, carrot and eggplant, as well as seeds and nuts. There is also a range of vegetable-based dips. We recommend choosing a plant-based dip with 50 per cent or more legumes and/or vegetables.
While most of the vegetable and legume-based dips will be low in saturated fat, some of the dairy-based dips can be higher. Look for a lower fat option or go for a yoghurt-based dip such as The Good Taste Co Cucumber & Mint Yoghurt dip with just 2.5g saturated fat per 100g. We recommend choosing a dip with 3g or less saturated fat per 100g.
Remembering that most of our sodium intake is from processed foods, it’s important to watch the sodium content when choosing a dip. We recommend choosing a dip with 500mg or less sodium per 100g, but 400mg or less sodium per 100g is even better.
The energy content of dips we looked at ranged from a high of 2450kJ per 100g (Turkish Kitchen Fresh Spinach & Basil) to 355kJ per 100g (Don Pepino Eggplant Ikra Russian style). If you’re watching your weight, then choose a low-kJ dip.
Practise safe dipping
The ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ dates are an important aspect of food safety. Keep dips chilled, check the label and follow the advice. Eat foods within a couple of days of opening.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid hummus (store-bought and homemade) and other dips containing tahini as they have been linked to both salmonella and listeria.
The kilojoules can add up depending what you have with your dip:
- 6 rice crackers add around 310kJ
- 6 vegetable sticks (celery and red capsicum) add 20kJ-70kJ
Make your own dip! Check out some healthy dip recipes here.
How to choose
Use these criteria to compare dips:
$3.90 per 210g container
Nutrition per 100g: 456kJ; 1.1g saturated fat; 350mg sodium; >57% vege; $1.86
Spicy with a good kick!
$3.20 per 200g container
Nutrition per 100g: 615kJ; 0.7g saturated fat; 400mg sodium; 75% legumes & vege; $1.60
Liked the pumpkin and kumara taste.
$3.69 per 175g container
Nutrition per 100g: 660kJ; 0.8g saturated fat; 390mg sodium; 77% legumes & vege; $2.11
Delicious garlicky and sweet beetroot flavours. Love the colour!
$4.50 per 350g container
Nutrition per 100g: 711kJ, 1.3g saturated fat, 255mg sodium; 55% legumes; $1.29
A good natural flavour with a light garlic background.
$5.29 per 500g container
Nutrition per 100g: 975kJ, 1.9g saturated fat, 448mg sodium, 69% legumes & vege; 4.7g fibre; $1.06
Liked the butternut flavour with a great texture.
$6.99 per 350g jar
Nutrition per 100g: 335kJ; 0.5g saturated fat; 430mg sodium; >59% vege; 4.3g fibre; $2.00
An interesting flavour. Delicious!
$4.10 per 200g container
Nutrition per 100g: 440kJ; 2.5g saturated fat; 180mg sodium; $2.05
Refreshing flavour. Light and summery with that hint of mint.
$4.00 per 200g container
Nutrition per 100g: 1080kJ; 2.3g saturated fat; 489mg sodium; 57% legumes & vege; $2.00
Liked the sun-dried tomato and basil flavours.