Hummus is a creamy, rich dip of chick peas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans, blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and garlic, plus a few optional spices. I have a few tips to make hummus the healthiest dip. First, mix up your own. I’ll tell you how in the easy to prepare recipe below. Second, avoid adding olive oil and salt. Two ingredients that should be minimized, if not eliminated from your diet, especially if your goal is to be healthy and lose weight.
Anytime you can incorporate beans/legumes into your daily diet, you can forego other protein sources. Such as meat and dairy products, which have been shown to increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer when consumed in excess.
Chick peas, the main ingredient in hummus, are a nutritional asset to your diet.
- Loaded with dietary fiber, which supports healthy digestive tract function.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease due to an excellent amount of antioxidants.
- As little as 3/4 cup of per day can help lower LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one-month period of time.
- The combination of fiber and protein in the beans plays a critical role in regulating blood sugar.
- Curbs your appetite, offering a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Sesame seeds, in the form of tahini paste, also contributes health benefits.
- Rich in a spectrum of micronutrients including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants.
- They offer a rich assortment of minerals: copper, manganese, calcium and magnesium.
- Copper is present in high amounts and is known for its use in reducing some of the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis.
- They contain healthy unsaturated fat.
- Be sure to use tahini made only with sesame seeds, nothing added.
Hummus has become quite popular and is available in most markets. Take the time to look at the nutrition labels of premixed dips. What you think is a healthy option can easily be fattened up with lots of oil and spiced with salt.
Some brands even add potassium sorbate, a preservative used to prevent mold growth. Potassium sorbate is a toxic agent that damages DNA molecules in genes, causing mutations, and tumors, and because it is mutagenic it’s capable of increasing the mutation rate, according to a 2010 human study. Potassium sorbate is nasty stuff and best to avoid.
In order to gain all the health benefits we recommend a serving size of ½ to 1 cup of hummus. The nutrition labels for the following brands of traditional, classic hummus consider a serving size as 28 grams or 2 tablespoons. In order to develop the chart below I multiplied a 2 tablespoon serving size by 4, since there are 8 tablespoons in a ½ cup. Nutrition fact labels for all these products are available on line, links provided under Additional Resources.
From a nutrition perspective let's see how these popular brands of hummus compare to my homemade hummus.
- The big shocker is sodium levels with the highest amount of 680 mg in ½ cup serving of Athenos compared to 10 mg in my recipe.
- Even if you had the recommended serving size of 28 grams for Athenos, (which is about a single ounce. Come on let's face it, you're gonna eat more than that!) you will still be ingesting 170 mg of sodium.
- Even the fat amount is no surprise with 11 grams versus the average amount of fat at 17 grams. My recipe's fat is sourced solely from the beans and sesame seeds.
- There's no preservatives in my recipe. There's that nasty potassium sorbate in three brands: Cedar's, Sabra and Otria.
- My homemade recipe also leads in protein content weighing in at 9 grams.
By mixing up my own hummus I can control the amount of fat and salt. Don't have to worry about added preservatives. And the fresh lemon juice and fresh garlic are the extra kick needed to delight the tastebuds.
Carrie's Classic Homemade Hummus
To make this as easy as possible I use already cooked garbanzo beans available in small boxes. You can easily multiply the ingredient amounts for larger batches. Enjoy this high fiber, high protein, low sodium dip for a snack or with a meal. See my suggestions for how to increase your healthy food consumption. Experiment with the garlic and lemon juice ratios to suit your taste. Sprinkle with ground cumin, paprika, ground pepper. Garnish with roasted red peppers.
- 13.4 oz. box of no salt added garbanzo beans
- 3 Tablespoons no salt added tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, outer peel removed
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Add all the above ingredients into a high speed blender.
- Do not drain liquid. This will aid in blending.
- Blend until creamy.
- If needed, add a small amount water to thin the mixture.
Yield: 3 servingsPrep Time: 00 hrs. 05 mins.
Total time: 5 mins.
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 11 g
- Sodium: 10 mg
- Dietaryfiber: 7 g
- Protein: 9 gs
Once you've got the hummus mixed together there's more ways to further increase your healthy food consumption.
- Serve it as a dip with cut up fresh carrots, celery and cucumbers.
- Use as a creamy salad dressing. Thin it down with a bit of water if it's too thick for you.
- Serve over steamed cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
- Serve over steamed phytonutrient rich greens such as spinach, kale or chard.
- Stuff a whole wheat pita with hummus, sliced tomatoes, onion, cucumber and lettuce.
- Spread hummus on a split whole grain english muffin. Add some sprouts. Top with thick beefsteak tomato slices. Sprinkle on fresh ground pepper.
- If gluten sensitive, replace whole wheat with wholesome low sodium gluten free alternatives.
- Make it daily habit to include beans/legumes in your daily diet. Your belly and your heart will thank you for treating it with nutrient rich foods.
- Mix up Carrie's Classic Homemade Hummus for the best nutritional profile.
- Always read the nutrition fact label. You may be surprised by what you learn.
Hummus Brand Nutrition Comparison Chart Information Sources