Kids and Condiments

By Theresa Albert, Toronto Nutritionist

When I am faced with parents who are desperate 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 equally, 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 offer zing for a caloric pittance.

Condiment Pro Con Nutritional Rank
Mustard zero calories but high nutri sharp taste


Applesauce best if unsweetened good dip/poor dressing


Honey Mustard 10-20 calories/tbsp sodium


BBQ sauce tomato based too much sugar


Ketchup more tomato per tsp high salt/sugar


Relish/chutney sneaky vegetable high salt/sugar/calories


Dill relish lower calorie high salt


Bottled Salad Dressing gets veg in high cal/bad fats


Mayo ok if gets more nutri foods in 100 cal / tbsp


Cheese sauce good for cooked veg saturated fat+salt


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 :0:15

3 English cucumbers

½ 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.


About the Author:

Theresa Albert Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.

Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.

Picture of Theresa Albert

Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at

Top Posts

My Top 10 Educational TV Shows for Kids
A Letter to my Kindergarten Graduate
DIY: Pull-Up Bars
35 Baby Names That Will Be Popular in 2019
Spark Joy: The Problem With KonMari and a More Realistic Organization Plan for Moms in 2019
How to Survive the First 6 Months of Daycare During Cold and Flu Season
Moms, Can We Stop Posting Pictures of Our Bodies?
One Mama Wrote Strict Rules For Visiting Her Newborn. Here's My Problem With Them
The Funniest Things Your Kids Say
My Best Mom Fails of 2018