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Make it healthier: hummus

Try this healthy hummus from our recipe finder

Hummus is a blend of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and sesame seed paste (tahini). It is now viewed by many of us as a grocery staple, with a recent survey showing that 41 per cent of us have a tub in the fridge – almost twice as many as any of our European counterparts.

In fact, we chomp our way through a staggering £60m worth every year but few of us are aware of how calorific and high in fat it can be.

According to research by the World Cancer Research Fund, a study of 2,000 people showed most of us have a lack of understanding about the calorie content of everyday foods. Hummus was one of those foods whose calorie content was underestimated.

Most of the hummus you buy in your local supermarket is high in fat. This is because of the tahini and oil it contains.

100g of hummus contains:

320Kcal – 7.7g protein – 8.8g carbs Green traffic light 0.6g sugars – Red traffic light 27.2g fat Amber traffic light 2.6g saturates – Amber traffic 1.1g salt

If you think how moreish it is and the fact the label says ‘eat within two days’, you can see how easily it is to take in far more calories and fat than you realise.

Even the reduced-fat hummus, which contains at least 30 per cent less fat than the standard product, still contains a lot of fat and is only 1.1g of fat away from being labelled ‘red’, ie high in fat.

100g of reduced-fat hummus contains:

239Kcal – 9.3g protein – 11.3g carbs Green traffic light 0.7g sugars – Amber traffic light 16.4g fat Amber traffic light 1.9g saturates – Amber traffic light1.0 g salt

Find out more about traffic light labelling.

Make your own

The good news is that you can easily make your own low-fat hummus. Cut the fat and calories by using more chickpeas and replacing the oil and sesame seed paste with natural yogurt, garlic cloves, lemon and pepper, and you’ll still have a delicious dip.

This works well as a sandwich filler. To make it go further you can add grated carrot or cucumber.

It is also important to think about what you are dipping in the hummus. Good choices include carrot batons, sticks of celery, cucumber and pepper, which are healthier and much lower in fat and calories compared to crisps, for example.

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