Which Sunny Condiment Can Save You Hundreds of Calories a Month?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's mustard, of course, and it happens to be one of the lightest condiments out there. It truly is a healthy eater's great friend.

A tablespoon of the yellow stuff has just 10 calories and no fat. A tablespoon of mayo has 90 calories and 10 g fat. You would have to eat a half-cup of mustard to get that many calories. According to French's, if you replace mayo with mustard on all your sandwiches this summer, you can save more than 8,000 calories!

National Mustard Day is this Saturday, Aug. 1, but we wanted to give you time to prepare all your favorite mustard dishes.

Did you know that mustard has a long history that dates back to the Roman times? And the yellow stuff we squirt on our hot dogs at baseball games is almost the same as it was back them.

According to About.com's home cooking expert, the word "mustard" comes from contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning "burning must." It was called "burning must" because in France the spicy mustard seeds were crushed and mixed with the juice of wine grapes, called "must." However, back in ancient Greece, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, used mustard as a medicinal plant more than a culinary one!

Mustard is still made the way the Romans made it, with the spicy and tangy seeds of the mustard plant and vinegar or the juice of wine grapes. The seeds come in yellow and black varieties, and while both are spicy, the latter is more pungent. When dry, mustard lacks its trademark spice; soaking the seeds causes a reaction that allows the heat to emerge. Cold water or other liquids will produce a hotter mustard while hot water will tame some of the mustard seed's bite. As a result, cooking or heating mustard can also reduce its bite.

Let's take a look at some of the different varieties of mustard you might see on supermarket shelves:

Yellow mustard: This is the most common form of mustard in the US. It is usually made with ground yellow mustard, white vinegar and turmeric, which gives it that trademark bright-yellow hue. It is smooth.

Dijon mustard: The city of Dijon in France and the surrounding Burgundy region are known for producing some of the world's best mustard. The mustard is usually made with wine instead of vinegar and brown and black seeds. It is tan or dark yellow and smooth.

Honey mustard: Any mustard can be mixed with honey to sweeten it and temper the heat. When choosing a variety at the store, try to find one that has as few ingredients as possible. Even better, make your own at home by mixing your favorite mustard with honey to taste. This mustard is higher in calories than unsweetened varieties, about 35 calories a tablespoon.

Whole-grain or Meaux mustard: Whole-grain mustard uses whole, uncrushed mustard seeds. A famous variety is Meaux mustard, made in the city of the same name just outside Paris. It is very similar to Dijon mustard in taste, but it is a whole-grain mustard, while Dijon mustard is smooth.

Other varieties of mustard include English, which is made from flour, turmeric, and mustard seeds in various colors, and Chinese, which is just mustard powder and water or wine. Germany is known for its mustard as well, with varieties that run the gamut from smooth to coarse, sweet to spicy.

Grab a bottle or a jar and get cooking! Here are some great tips for using mustard:

  • Spread mustard on any meat before grilling. It's also great on shrimp and tofu.

  • Thin mustard with a bit of water or vinegar for an easy dipping sauce.

  • Use a teaspoon of Dijon mustard as a stabilizer when making vinaigrette. It helps keep the oil and vinegar from separating.

  • Skip the mayo and make mustard-based vinaigrettes for potato salads, pasta salads and cole slaw--all your backyard barbecue favorites!

  • Honey mustard poured over chicken or pork chops before baking makes for a quick and easy dinner.

Did you know?
  • In olden days, mustard was lauded for its health properties. Plasters of mustard on the chest were said to clear up sinus and chest congestion, and it was also said to help ward off upset stomach in small doses.

  • Here in Cincinnati, where SparkPeople is headquartered, we've got a deep-running German community. There's even a club dedicated to a particular German mustard!

  • Mustard is a member of the brassica family of plants, which means it's related to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. The mustard plant's green leafy tops are edible and can be cooked like collards or turnip greens.

  • According to Dr. Jonny Bowden's book "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth," mustard seeds contain plenty of cancer-fighting phyto-chemicals and antioxidants.

  • If you live in or near Wisconsin and really like mustard, you might want to check out the Mustard Festival in Mount Horeb. It'll be the last one in that town, organizers say!

Find plenty of SparkRecipes that use mustard here, and check out some recipes from French's mustard, too!

Are you a mustard fan? Do you like it smooth or coarse, spicy or sweet? I like strong Dijon mustard. I put it in salad dressings and love it with cheese. I plop a spoonful into macaroni and cheese to really punch up the flavor. What is your favorite way to use mustard?

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I grew up with French's but have developed a liking for hot English mustard. Report
I love to mix it with horseradish for my sandwiches. I have baked chicken that has been basted with mustard. Very tasty! Report
I admit to loving mustards of all types - except for the plain, bright yellow stuff in a plastic squeeze bottle. Report
Mustard on plain air popped pop corn...AMAZING. On anything savory really, pizza, tuna, as salad dressing, mix it with hummus, everything! Report
I love mustards - all kinds! I put it on everything! Report
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one on SP with a "wardrobe" of mustards :)

I'm a particularly huge fan of most of the German and French mustards. Report
I LOVE mustard : ) !
Right now, we have about 5 different types/brands of mustard in the fridge and I like them all; I love the tang that mustard gives.
A few of my favorites are: Stonewall Kitchen's Traditional Pub Style mustard, Annie's naturals organic yellow mustard & Maille old style whole grain dijon mustard.
Adding mustard seeds when cooking greens give it that "kick" as well : ) ! Report
after working at panera for three years I got hooked on gulden's mustard. it is great on everything from breakfast eggs to dinner steak. It's got simple ingrediant and has been natural since the get go. more than a hundred years i believe. My sister used to pretend to vomit when i would get mayo on stuff or mix my mayo with ketchup for a dipping sauce. While I was pregnant I couldn't handle very strong flavors and even mayo was too strong. Now I understand her reaction. I don't abhor it like she does and I won't return a sandwich if i forget to order it without but I really do prefer mustard and other spicy sauces to mayo now. Report
I with u on them mustard and collard greens with mustard.... thats my mama cooking Report
I've been using mustard as my main condiment for a couple years! I love yellow mustard on the regulars, honey mustard on french fries or homemade baked chicken strips, and brown mustard on any kind of sandwich. :) Report
Used to always put mayo on my sandwiches but now I've fallen in love with MUSTARD!!! It's tangy, tasty, and so guilt free. I don't miss the mayo! Report
Love mustard. You can cook shrimp by adding chopped onions, ground garlic, minced green chillies, oil & salt mix it all together & steam it. Have to go get shrimp tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!a Report
I like mustard also. There have been great ideas to use it differently.

This is for the one lady who complained about its high sodium content:

I used my blender and put mustard seeds in it to break the mustard seeds down. When ground to your liking add either vinegar or water.

This will be the best gourmet mustard you have ever tasted. You will have to keep adding vinegar or water to it for future use as it does thicken up. Best of all there is no sodium added. E-N-J-O-Y.

What an informative article, thanks! Report
I love mustard and have always used it rather than mayo! My husband hates it. He can taste it no matter how tiny of an amount that I put in my recipes. I hate making 2 separate forms of an entree, so I often go without. Makes me sad! Report
I have always liked mayo on my sandwhiches and saved the mustard for hotdogs. I started adding mustard to my sandwhiches instead of Mayo. It took a few times to get used to but now I like it and do not miss the mayo. I am so glad to have made the switch. it saved me calories and aided my weight loss. I am in the mustard club now and lovin it. Report
I love mustard - I never ate mayo as a kid and maybe thats part of the reason I was SKINNY and I hate hate hate Miracle WHIP (YUCK). I still dont care that much for Mayo -if I get a burger I always ask for it to be omitted.I like to add hot sauce to mustard sometimes. Report
absolutely! mustard is one of those ingredients where even a small amount adds a huge amount of flavor, minus calories - same goes for vinegar. one of my favorite chicken marinades is mustard, rice wine vinegar, worchestershire sauce, and garlic. throw in the chicken, as well as some onions and mustard and cook it all up the next day. then throw the leftovers into pasta with a little feta cheese - another ingredient where a little bit makes a huge difference! Report
Gotta have some horseradish in it to really pop....yummmmmmmmmmmmmm Report
Mmmmn! I love mustard in all it's shapes and forms. Definitely my favourite condiment (never liked mayo - bleck). Mustard is awesome. You can make dressings and dips and sauces and use it as a marinade or just pour it on stuff. Seedy, smooth, sweet, spicy, I love 'em all! Report
I love coarse spicy mustard because it adds heat to my favorite sandwiches and BBQ sauce. Report
This is so interesting as yesterday I went to a function where there was a pot luck and one of the choices was medium rare beef with whole grain bread rolls with mustard as the condiment. The other meal was lasagne. I chose the former and practised portion control as well. Report
I used to not use condiments on my sandwiches, back in the "old days" of dieting, but not anymore. Love fat free honey mustard dressing on my spinach salad, and on my daily sandwich, it's regular yellow mustard, and on dark bread it's the dark mustard. It's a great change of pace, and eating well is a lifetime thing, not a "hurry up and drop the weight" so you can go back to overeating thing. Report
Mustard...brown is no.1. I use it in all salads. Mustard greens and collard greens with mustard is great! Report
We just found a chili dog flavored mustard, it is fantastic! Report
I have always loved mustard, particularly Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard in those adorable little plastic barrels and hot Chinese mustard. However, when I began tracking my sodium, I was astonished to see how much of mustard (any mustard) was just salt! So I was forced to cut down, and ration out my tastes of the yellow treat. When I searched, I could not find a single low-sodium mustard variety. When will someone come up with one? There now seem to be low-sodium versions of almost everything else. It's just not fair to mustard-lovers who need to watch their sodium! Report
I am trying to find a low fat substitute for Ranch dressing on my salads and I think I just found it. Thanks for the Article now I can start looking for recipes. Report
I love all kinds of mustard. I eat it on popcorn and on a toasted bagel. Yummy! Report
I love mustard! I have 5 different kinds in the fridge now. Different mustards for different reasons. I like honey mustard for cooking pork and chicken. Dijon for sandwiches, german mustard, hot mustard, horseradish mustard, and the old standby, plochman's yellow mustard! Yum! I like to add the spicy mustard to ground turkey before making them into burger patties, so good! Report
I never ate mustard as a child. Never really liked anything hot it burns my mouth. I find I can tolerate the salad mustard and it seems the more I use it the more I like it.
I use it now to make potato salad and I sometimes add it to chicken or ham salad. Report
Thanks for the recipe ideas, I never use mustard in cooking, I use it on sandwiches and in my egg salad. I will definately try some of those recipes!!!!! Report
Mustard,I love it. My fridg has a dozen kinds, when I was a kid we came from a family without a lot of money but we always had bread and mustard, toast and mustard yum. Report
I can eat the American stuff. But the stuff they sell over here in England it's strong . . . I'd put it in sauces or stews, but no way I'm putting it on my sandwich. Report
I love all types of mustards. But I really love to cook with the seeds. I use it in every type of curry I make. Saute a few in olive oil until they pop and then add your other spices. I also use it in fried rice dishes. Very good and good for you! The seeds also impart a very different flavor than the prepared mustards do. So if you don't like the taste of prepared mustard you can still get the health benefits from using the seeds in your cooking! Report
Give me spicy mustard any day! YUM. I stopped having any honey mustard when I realized it had a lot of caloires, and the spicy is so much BETTER. Haven't used mayonaize in ages....but why have the extra calories, when mustard , low calorie, adds so much more flavor! Report
I have the button from the mount Horeb Mustard museum and one of my favorites is Raspberry Honey mustard. They actually have a tasting area if you would like to try something new. YEAH MUSTARD!!!!! Report
i think mustard is not suitable for certain sandwiches...turkey, or lettuce and tomato so i mix it with yogurt, fat free mayo or sugar free sweet relish and it does not add many more calories. Report
Yum, mustard! I've always liked mustard but after reading some of the comments and tips, I think I'll be loving it! Report
I think mustard gives a plain turkey sandwich a great kick of taste. Love it. Report
I've recently started replacing mayo for mustard and honestly, I hardly miss the mayo. I love the regular mustard though I'll settle for any. They add flavor to my food, that's all that matters. Report
Apropos of nothing, does anyone remember Col. Mustard from the Clue board game? Yikes...I'm geezin' again! Report
made a steak sandwich from a recipe that called for dijon mustard, grain mustard, and mayo wisked together and then spread on ciabatta with arugala leaves. It was incredible!! Report
mustard mixed with horsradish. My fav. Report
I have come to love mustard and prefer it over other condiments and spices. My favorite is a stone ground mustard that largely leaves the seeds whole. I eat it on rye bread or I use it as a glaze for my fish and chicken. This stuff is wonderful! Report
I love mustard! Report
I adore mustard, really, it's sort of crazy... I use it to marinade/flavor meats (along with spices etc) when cooking or grilling from steak to pork ... I make an amazing snack of red, ripe tomatoes and 1% cottage cheese topped with dijionaise... i use it when I make egg white omletes... a little hot sauce, dijion style mustard with spinach and mushrooms... YUM! On potatoes... on salads... with tuna fish/sweet relish... on sandwiches (arnold sandwich thins, lean ham, 1/2 slice of provolone, yellow mustard and pop it in a skillet w/ a sandwich press or heavy pan and YUUUUM!) It's pretty versatile!

Now that I've divulged my love for mustard... I'll wish you all good luck and happy experimenting! Report
My ex's family was addicted to Koop's mustard, every time they were up north they would buy it by the case.

Another mustard tip I have is salad dressing. At restaurants I often make my own dressing from available condiments; I use a little olive oil, some vinegar, and plenty of mustard. Quite tasty without being calorific. Report
I have always liked mustard over mayo. Report
I adore Deitz and Watson's zesty honey mustard. Never thought about putting it on pork though! I got some beautiful boneless chops at our farmer's market last week, I just may have to use that when I make them! Report
I have always preferred mustard over catsup and mayo . Report
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