Jarred Spaghetti Sauce: Safe or Scary?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health

What's lurking in your jarred sauce? Credit: Cameron Cassan, Flickr

Talk about an easy, quick dinner. Boil noodles. Heat jarred sauce in a pot. Pour sauce over pasta and serve.

But when it comes to food, convenience, unfortunately, so often means you're getting additives and undesirable "extras" in whatever it is you're eating. And jarred spaghetti sauce is no exception.

Are there any good jarred sauces out there? Let's take a look.


Tomato Sauce: Reading labels is key here. Some organic sauces contains nothing beyond what you might use in a homemade sauce -- tomato puree, onions, salt, olive oil, garlic and spices. But some of the more mainstream brands have more added sugar than chocolate fudge sauce. And just about all the sauces have about 25 percent of your sodium allowance for the day. Consider buying plain boxed or canned diced/pureed tomatoes and spicing them yourself for a quick sauce.
Alfredo Sauce: As a cream-and-cheese-based sauce, Alfredo is loaded with saturated fat and calories. Make this an occasional indulgence only, and choose a brand with the fewest ingredients.

Pesto: Basil is very nutritious, and is even known to be an effective digestive aid. The nuts in pesto are full of fiber and healthy fats, and the olive oil is a good fat as well. The downside to pesto is that, given it's made with lots of oil, it's very high in calories. A little does go a long way, however.

Clam Sauce: Clams are good for you, but beware of brands of canned clam sauce that contain the neurotoxin MSG and/or tons of sodium. Again, label-reading is a must.

Jennifer Schonborn is a certified holistic nutrition counselor. Sign up for her newsletter and free consultation at jenniferschonborn.com.

Related: 10 Diet-Friendly Pasta Dishes

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.