Condiments are one of those things that is very easy to discount, but can quickly lead to a lot of extra calories.
If you read the nutritional information, most condiments will look very low calorie. But a lot of these labels list a single teaspoon or a tablespoon as a serving size.
This guide is comparing a 2oz side of condiments, because that is the standard little cup you get at restaurants. When you ask for dressing on the side, a 2oz container is typically what you get. The standard 2pz cup is equal to 4 tablespoons, or 12 teaspoons, so you can see how these can add up quickly.
You might use less of one condiment and more of another, but let’s roll with this size for the ease of comparison.
If you’re counting calories or macros, do you need to consider condiments? It depends.
As you can see, some are not going to make too big of a difference…
Let’s look at ketchup as an example here. A “normal” serving of ketchup won’t add many calories to your meal, but if you’re enjoying fries and use up a side cup of ketchup, you’re consuming almost 100 extra calories. 100 calories is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but if you do it on the regular, you can see how that can add up.
If you get yourself a side of garlic aioli to dip your truffle fries into (how amazing does that sound?) you can be looking at nearly 400 extra calories!
There are many different brands of each condiment, and SO many variations of each, so this guide may not prove to be perfect. A different brand of marinara or honey mustard will likely have slightly different calories, but they should all be similar.
Plus, there are now many different variations that purposely lower the overall calories. I almost always go with a no-sugar-added ketchup or a sugar-free BBQ sauce, which bring the calories way down.
I truly can’t taste the difference in either of those, for the record! Grab the Heinz no sugar added ketchup, or G Hughes sugar free BBQ sauce, and I promise you’ll never turn back! Plus, then you can use allllll the sauce without blowing all of your calories for the day.
A quick note on mustard. Most mustard lists 0 calories, but the FDA says that anything under 5 calories can be listed as 0. Most mustard has 3 calories per teaspoon even though it lists 0, which is where that number is coming from.
The same goes for hot sauce, which will have a minimal amount of calories even though it lists 0. It’s impossible to say how many calories, but it’s going to be very close to 0, considering it’s typically vinegar and pepper based. Sriracha will sometimes list 0 as the calories, but most should have 5 calories per teaspoon, which is why this guide lists 60.
Don’t abandon condiments in fear, that’s not the point here!
Rather, just be smart about them. If you order a sandwich that comes with mayo, ask for the mayo on the side so you can control the portion. If you’re dieting and wondering “why can’t I lose weight”, often times it’s the hidden calories in beverages or condiments that can make the difference.
And I know there are a TON more condiments that didn’t make the cut, so I’ll be sure to periodically update this!