Ah yes, salsa. God's gift to health nuts looking for something strong, flavorful and nutrient packed without all the calories. In my opinion, it's hard to beat a good, natural salsa. It'll go with all sorts of things, way more than you'd initially believe. It isn't just an accompaniment to those tortilla chips, in fact those chips actually give salsa a bad rap. I'm here to tell you today that on its own, salsa is not only delicious, but a very healthy snack that you'll want to get into your diet as soon as possible, especially if you want to spice things up from all those clean, bland, "boring" foods. Let's check it out!
First, what is salsa? Well the definition I found on thefreedictionary.com says:
A spicy sauce of chopped, usually uncooked vegetables or fruit, especially tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers, used as a condiment.
This leaves a LOT of room for interpretation. I've had salsas that were sweet, with pineapple and mango. I've also had some that are hot as heck, with habanero and green chili peppers. I've had bean salsa, with black beans and corn and chickpeas (YUMMY). And then there's the good old mild stuff on the middle shelf of the grocery store, an option that's still completely delicious despite being a little less adventurous. You'd be amazed at all the different ingredients that can go into one salsa, and surprised at how natural a lot of those ingredients can be. Here's the nutritional information for the average store bought salsa (For two tablespoons):
When it comes to salsa, the more natural it is, the better. What do I mean? Well a lot of the big name companies start to make their product a little overly processed, and you start to get ingredients that you wouldn't really want or need in salsa. You also get a lot more sodium per serving, as well as a lot more sugar (they sweeten it up unnecessarily in order to sell more jars, obviously.) To give you a comparison, let's take the sodium count in the salsa mentioned above (which is an average of all store brand nutritional facts), and a natural salsa I have in my fridge right now.
Theirs? 200mg of sodium per serving
Mine? 150mg of sodium per serving
50mg is a plenty big difference. What salsa is it exactly that I have I'm currently munching on? It's called "Wholly Salsa," and it's an all natural variant that tastes absolutely delicious.
80mg of sodium!? That's pretty darn low, especially for salsa. I'm going to have to check this stuff out (though it does look like they added a little sugar).
So why is salsa so healthy and low calorie? Well the credit goes mainly to its main ingredient: VEGETABLES. That's right, the low calorie, complex carb, nutrient packed meal item we often like to "accidentally overlook." You get a ton of vitamins and minerals from salsa that you wouldn't get from other sauces. In my honest opinion, salsa is quite the find for any dieter, because it can quickly make bland, tasteless foods quite delectable and desirable. Want some examples of how I personally use salsa? SURE!
On Sandwiches- That's right, nothing spices up tuna or turkey like a little bit of salsa. It gives the sandwich an amazing natural kick and barely changes the nutritional info at all. It has completely replaced mayonnaise in my diet, and definitely does the job well.
On Salads- Want a replacement for that fatty, calorie loaded ranch? Try salsa! Believe me you won't miss the saturated fat, or the taste, because you'll be too busy enjoying all the powerful flavors of your salad coated in a beautiful medley of spice and savory goodness. Did that sell you? I hope so. Try it today, it's an amazing low calorie salad topper.
As a Veggie Dip- I love to dip raw vegetables in salsa. They go together perfectly, and compliment each other in a way that's quite delicious. I guarantee you won't look at plain old cucumber slices the same ever again after you've had them with a spicy bean salsa. My personal favorite though is a bowl of cooked baby carrots with a little dish of dipping salsa. I've been known to have that snack at least three times a day. TRY IT!
In Omelettes- Now this one is truly awesome. Throw some salsa into your next omelette, along with some mushrooms, onions, and whatever else you may desire, and be prepared for one amazingly delicious breakfast. Eggs go great with salsa in general, so don't worry about ruining either flavor. Plus, when salsa gets warm, it's extra delicious, as more of the aromas and flavors are released.
Plain- Yes you read right, I've been known to eat this stuff plain! just a few spoonfuls at a time of course (though usually the entire package has less than 200 calories), to avoid too much of a sodium intake. But don't be afraid to have a spoonful when you feel like it. It will barely make a dent in your daily calories and is a great way to get a few more vegetables in your diet. Plus it can really curb the appetite with all those nice flavors!
So get to your grocery store and pick up a jar of salsa today! It's versatile, delicious, and above everything else, EXTREMELY HEALTHY! Low calorie, high nutrient, what more could you ask for? Pick what ever kind you like best, and start trying it out. Believe me, your taste buds and your figure will both thank you.
Some like it hot, some like it chunky, some like it sweet. It's up to you. GOOD LUCK!