Hummus: Is it Healthy?
A basic hummus recipe includes chickpeas and tahini (ground sesame seed paste) seasoned with various flavorings and blended smooth with oil. A two-tablespoon serving of plain hummus contains 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein. The sodium content typically ranges from 120 to 180 milligrams per serving, depending on the brand. Served with fresh veggie sticks, a whole-grain pita or crackers, hummus can make a healthy and satisfying snack. It can also be used as a sandwich spread and makes a flavorful addition to burgers and soups.
The health benefits of hummus can take a sharp turn downhill if you aren’t mindful of the portions and accouterments. For example, your snack of half a cup of hummus served with two servings (about 18 pieces) of seasoned pita chips adds up to 540 calories and more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium — about 35 percent of the daily recommendation.
There are plenty of reasons to love hummus; just keep the dippers healthy and the portions modest.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.