Is Honey Mustard Healthy? Here’s What You Need to Know
Find out where the sweet sauce falls on the spectrum of sandwich condiments, according to a dietitian.
Take a walk down the condiment aisle, and you'll soon realize that there are a lot (and I mean a loooot) of different types of mustards. Take an even closer look at their nutrition labels and it's clear: not all mustards are created equal. And this is especially true when it comes to honey mustard.
"There's a huge range of options, from fat-free to high fat," says Cynthia Sass, R.D. "But in either case, it's far from plain or spicy mustard nutritionally."
When asked, “is honey mustard healthy?” Sass pointed out that even fat-free honey mustard, at about 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, is significantly higher in calories than spicy and yellow mustards, many of which are calorie-free. Some spicy and Dijon mustards do have up to 30 calories in 2 tablespoons, but Sass notes that you'd be unlikely to use that much on a sandwich: "A little bit goes a long way, flavor-wise." (Check out these 10 DIY condiments that beat store-bought any day.)
Full-fat honey mustard is even more detrimental to your diet than fat-free and not just because of the fat content. "The full-fat honey mustards have about 120 calories, 11 grams of fat (in 2 tablespoons), and contain high fructose corn syrup, which is usually higher in the ingredient list than honey," says Sass. (Mayonnaise, by comparison, is still the richest of the condiment options, averaging about 180 calories and 20 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving.)
Similarly, many honey mustards are also loaded with sugar or, more specifically, added sugars. Essentially public enemy number one in the world of nutrition, too much of the sweet stuff can boost your risk of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. An easy way to cut these chances? Nixing products packed with added sugars like (sorry!) honey mustard and getting your fix from naturally sweet eats like fruits. (Need some inspo? Here's how real women manage their daily sugar intake.)
Sass further cautions that by substituting honey mustard for regular mustard, you might be missing out on added health benefits: "Actual mustard contains cancer-fighting phytochemicals similar to those in broccoli and cabbage." (Related: What Are These Phytonutrients Everyone Keeps Talking About?)
The bottom line if you’re wondering “is honey mustard healthy?”
If you're looking for a yes-or-no verdict, "my vote on honey mustard is nay,” says Sass. “But if you really and truly love it, go for it—just be sure to add a little more activity to your day or cut back elsewhere." And look for one with minimal ingredients: ideally, just mustard seed, honey, vinegar, and maybe some oil and salt. (Up Next: Healthy Mash-Up Sauce Recipes You'll Want to Put On Everything)