Daily Tip 7: Are You Picking Smart Condiments and Extras?

You only use a few spoonfuls at a time, so can condiments really be doing a lot of harm to your weight loss efforts? Condiments can bring a lot of flavor to your food, but if you were to read the food label you would see that many of them could be contributing to that number on the scale.  Let me tell you what condiments may be doing you damage.

  1. Oils (120 Calories/tbsp.)
  2. Butter (100 Calories/tbsp.)
  3. Mayonnaise (90-100 Calories/tbsp.)
  4. Creamy Salad Dressings (60-80 Calories/tbsp.)
  5. Italian and Low-fat Creamy Dressings, Low-fat Mayo (35-50 Calories/tbsp.)
  6. Cheeses (80-120 Calories/oz)
  7. Jelly (50-60 Calories/tbsp.)
  8. Sour cream (20-30 Calories/tbsp.)
  9. BBQ (20-30 Calories/tbsp.)
  10. Ketchup (20 Calories/tbsp.)

As you can see, these condiments can add a lot of Calories to your foods. These are the calories per tablespoon  and  most of us don’t stop at one tablespoon! Most of these condiments do this without filling you up or contributing a lot of substance.  The bottom three on that list really are fine in moderation*, but you may not be doing moderation. As a ketchup fiend, I used to use five or more tablespoons in one meal and pile up 100 or so extra Calories. This is definitely enough to make a difference over time. Better choices** include:

  1. Soy Sauce (15 Calories/tbsp)
  2. Sugar Free Jelly (10 Calories/tbsp)
  3. Plain Greek Yogurt (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  4. Mustard (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  5. Hot Sauce (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  6. Walden Farms Salad Dressings/Ketchup (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  7. Horseradish (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  8. Pickles (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  9. Lemon Juice (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  10. Vinegar (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  11. Salsa (<10 Calories/tbsp)
  12. Cooking Sprays (<10 Calories for a quick spray)
  13. Most Seasonings (Garlic, Onion Powder, Pepper, Cumin, ect)

If you are trying to lose weight, I would suggest choosing mostly condiments and extras from the bottom list and small portions of the last three from the top list. You can also make a healthy ranch dressing with Greek yogurt or use Greek yogurt as a replacement for sour cream.

*Really anything is fine in moderation, but if the goal is weight loss, you will have to limit the higher Calories options even more than usual!

**These lower Calorie options may still be high in sodium, but sometimes you must pick the lesser of two evils (sodium over excessive Calories).


Photo Courtesy of Steve Korevec


13 thoughts on “Daily Tip 7: Are You Picking Smart Condiments and Extras?

      • Awww thanks 🙂

        Oh, that’s actually supposed to be less than (<) 10 Calories! Walden Farms are very close to 0 Calorie – close enough to be labeled as 0. Many people don't know that many foods that are labeled as 0 Calorie like Splenda and diet pop actually have a few Calories, but labeling laws allow them to put 0 Calories.


      • see! interesting either way! haha 0 calories still means calories. even if there is 2, it should say 2. not that it matters to me, with the ww program i chose to follow i just following a certain food list, so i don’t calorie count, but it would be good to know regardless 🙂


    • Yes BBQ, ketchup, and jelly are mostly carbs, but the highest Calorie extras are mostly from fat (oil, butter, mayo, creamy salad dressings, cheeses). No point in going low-carb for weight loss if you eat too many Calorie.


      • Well, while we do have to expend more calories, or energy, than we consume in order to lose weight the overall quality of our diet (variety of food) is also very important. Carbs are complex sugars which are used for fuel first. Some carbs are good, some are bad. The ones in BBQ, ketchup, etc. are pure sugars and, therefore, contribute little nutritional value. I was pointing out to those who keep paleo and other low-carb lifestyles your list matches that.


      • Absolutely, I just wanted to make sure people following those low-carb diets in an attempt to lose weight understand that the higher fat options on the list contribute more Calories. Calories, like you said, are the reason we lose weight – not carbs alone. People trying to lose weight would likely be better off avoid both the high fat and high simple carb condiments on the list. I think we are in agreement, but describing things differently 🙂


  1. This post has come at an optimal time for me as I am making choices about what I eat. I have been slowly becoming more conscious of what I eat. I am trying to make healthier choices, and this seems like just the right time to look at not just what I eat, but what I put on top of it. For example a sandwich might be better than a hamburger for lunch, but a sandwich with mustard may be better than one with mayo. I have reblogged this tips.


    • Thank you! I’m happy to hear this helped you 🙂 Becoming more conscious a great step in the right direction. I think a good habit to get in to is to start reading food labels. Look at the serving size and the amount of Calories, fat, saturated/trans fat, and sugar. Read the ingredients to see if the sugar was added or if it’s natural.


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