Ask the expert: pre-made sauces
After reading the first part of our recipe makeovers story in
the September edition of Healthy U, reader Teresa contacted
Diabetes Queensland and asked
"Regarding sauces you buy in a jar
that you just add meat and chicken and vegies too and also those
pre-made recipe packet mixes... Are they healthy for you or are
they full of preservatives and additives... And if they are
unhealthy what would you recommend instead?"
Diabetes Queensland Dietitian Michelle Tong
This is a really important question Teresa. Pre-made sauces and
packet mixes are very convenient, especially if you are in a rush,
but you are right they are not always a great choice because they
tend to be high in added salt and sugar.
There are a couple things you can do:
If time doesn't allow you to make your own sauces have a look at
the nutrition information panel on the pre-made sauces on the table
on the back of the packet. Make sure you look at the per 100g
column then look at the sugar and salt. Choose products with less
than 15g of sugar per 100g and less than 120mg of sodium per
If you would like some more information on reading labels have a
look at our healthy shopping website /healthy-shopping.aspx.
Making a sauce from scratch is a fantastic idea because you know
exactly what is going into your meal. Take the family favourite
Spaghetti Bolognese. You might be surprised at how much salt and
sugar is added to the pre-made bottled sauces, but you can whip a
delicious alternative using ingredients that are probably already
in your pantry or fridge. I have shared my favourite Bolognese
sauce recipe below:
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed (or 1 tsp of bottle crushed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 300g lean mince
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (I often buy the canned tomatoes that
have herbs added to them for extra flavour)
- 1 tbspn reduced salt tomato paste
- 1 tbspn dried mixed herbs
*you can also add any other vegetables you have in the fridge
such as tomatoes, zucchini etc.
- sauté garlic
- add the mince and brown
- add mushrooms, grated carrots and any other vegetables you have
in the fridge
- then add a can of chopped tomatoes, herbs and tomato paste and
simmer until sauce has thickened a little and the mince and
vegetables are cooked.
For more delicious homemade sauce recipes check out our dietitian's
favourite sauce recipes.
Do you have a question for Diabetes Queensland's nutrition and
physical activity experts?
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we will answer it for you. We may even ask you if we can
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