Nutrition / Recipes

4 Healthier Dip Recipes to Whip Up Quick

Turns out that you can still enjoy your favorite dips without ditching your diet.

Now that we’re well into fall (not to mention football season), dips are taking a front-and-center seat on the menu at your family and friend gatherings. This temptation can be tough to resist, even when you’re trying so hard to stick to a specific diet and exercise regimen. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy dip recipes out there that you can make yourself.

While it’s true that most dips, given their creamy consistency, are loaded with ingredients that are both high in calories and saturated fat (not to mention topped off with a hefty dose of cheddar or mozzarella), not all dips are created equal. “Other dips promote the benefit of being low-fat or low-calorie but at the expense of being chock full of artificial ingredients and ‘fillers,’” explains Jessica Tosto, MS, RD, clinical coordinator, Nutrition and Dietetics College of Health Professions at Pace University.

The key lies in the preparation. If you’re purchasing a dip from a restaurant or your local grocery store, chances are that the recipe is delivering you the heartiest, most fattening version possible. However, if you’re preparing your own dips and spreads, you can add in whole food ingredients that are naturally lower in calories or have other health benefits, adds Tosto. This way, you can still enjoy the dipping experience and score a boost of nutrition while you’re at it. Here are healthy versions of your favorite dips of the season.

Southwestern Greek Yogurt Dip

Greek yogurt is an excellent substitution for sour cream. Not only is it less fattening, but it’s also more nutritious. Greek yogurt is packed with protein—just one cup scores you about 25 grams, which is about half your recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, loves to make this dip because it doesn’t contain any added sugar or sodium, and it packs both protein and gut-health friendly probiotics.

Ingredients:

5 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon lime juice
1-½ teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt with garlic, lime juice, and one teaspoon cilantro.
  2. Top with remaining cilantro, and plate with vegetables.

Individual 5-Layer Bean Dip

With this fun and festive dip, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything since all the flavor is there! The catch is that you’re tasting all whole ingredients. “You layer protein and fiber-packed black beans with salsa, a little creme fraiche, and avocado, which is a healthy fat superstar and has plenty of fiber, as well,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition and wellness expert and author of Eating in Color. “I like to serve this in individual cups or ramekins to avoid double dipping by little ones, and help with portion control, too.”

Ingredients:

1 avocado, pitted
1 lime, zest and juice
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, divided
1 (15-ounce) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
¼  cup creme fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
½ cup salsa (mild, medium, or hot—whichever you like)
1 scallion, chopped
Tortilla chips for serving

Directions:

  1. Mash avocado in a bowl with a fork. Add in half of the lime zest and juice, plus half of the salt and pepper, and combine.
  2. Place black beans in a separate bowl and mash about half with a fork. Add the remaining lime zest and juice, as well as the remaining salt and pepper.
  3. Place 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture into four small dessert bowls or ramekins. Layer 1/4 cup of the avocado mixture on top. Spoon one tablespoon of the creme fraiche, sour cream, or yogurt on top of the avocado, then spoon two tablespoons salsa on top. Finish with one tablespoon chopped scallion.

White Bean and Avocado Dip

Not only is this dip great for winter time when tomatoes aren’t in season, but it’s loaded with equally nutritious substitutions. “White beans contain added protein and fiber, and have higher calcium levels than dark beans—just check the labels for sodium content when purchasing them as some brands are very high in sodium, while others have virtually no added salt,” says Tosto. “Olive oil and avocado both contain heart healthy Omega-3 fats, while garlic provides protective benefits for heart health and has anti-cancer properties.”

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados
1 can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves roasted garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Juice from ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
Course ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Mash the avocados in a medium bowl.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, then add to the avocado, and mash beans slightly with a fork.
  3. Stir in olive oil to make the consistency less “sticky.”
  4. Mash the garlic cloves and mix evenly.
  5. Add the parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus can be a healthy snack, but oftentimes store-bought varieties are loaded with salt and other additives that can make it less nutritious. So, it’s a great idea to make your own. “Chickpeas are a moderate calorie source; are packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients; plus they can help slow digestion and keep you feeling fuller for longer,” says Tosto. “Red peppers are low in calories and very high in vitamin C to help boost your immune system.”

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup roasted red pepper
3 ounces feta cheese
1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
Course ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients except the peppers in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Cut peppers in half and remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the skins are blackened in spots.
  4. Remove from the oven and put in a covered bowl to cool for about 30 minutes.
  5. Once they are cool enough to handle, the skins should peel easily off the back of the pepper. Mix into your hummus mixture.
  6. If you are not using right away, cover with some olive oil and store covered in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.)

Dips are a fun and simple addition to family dinners, tailgates, and parties. Make your own healthy dip recipes to skip all the additives in store-bought varieties and add a homemade touch to your next get together.

Nutrition Recipes

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