8 Healthy Calorie-Free and Low-Calorie Condiments

Big flavor, no surprises

Condiments are the spice of life. More accurately, they’re the spices, sauces, and anything else we add to our meals to impart new flavors or accentuate existing ones. If you’re on a weight loss or maintenance path, however, some condiments like ranch dressing or ketchup can end up being a trojan horse full of additives, sugars, and fats. 

That’s where low-calorie and calorie-free condiments shine their brightest. These sauces and spreads can bring the flavor without adding “secret” calories. Here’s a list of our eight favorite healthy low-calorie and calorie-free condiments.

How can something edible have ZERO calories?

The only “true” zero-calorie condiment is water. The FDA classifies any food with 5 or fewer calories per serving or “reference amount customarily consumed” (RACC) as calorie-free or zero calories. “Low-calorie” refers to foods with 40 calories or less. All this to say, the quantity of what you’re consuming still matters, so don’t go drinking mustard and thinking you’re getting something for nothing.

Calorie-free condiments:

Mustard

The tabletop standby, mustard often gets a bad rap because of its fast-food connotations and connections to  sugar-laden ketchup, but surprisingly many styles and brands of mustard can contain as little as 5 calories per serving. Most mustard is made with vinegar, garlic powder, mustard seed, lemon juice, salt, and turmeric, which can be a powerful anti-inflammatory as well.

Lemon Juice

Perfect for adding bright and zesty citrus notes to any dish without worrying about calorie-heavy creams or sugary reductions, natural lemon juice is perhaps one of the oldest condiments. Like all citrus, lemon is also a great source of vitamin c. Long recognized for bringing the flavor out of fish, lemon juice is also a perfect condiment for light salad dressings or low-cal mocktails!

Hot sauce

Most hot sauce follows the “more for less” maxim when it comes to flavor, making it an easy way to transform a dish with a couple of drops. Sriracha and Tobasco are two excellent examples that can change up anything from morning eggs to southwest salads. As an added bonus, the capsaicin that gives these sauces their spice can be excellent for blood pressure and cholesterol.

Wine vinegar

As much as we’d like to just put “wine” on this list, we think wine vinegar is more of a traditional condiment. Wine vinegar is made by fermenting the alcohol in already fermented wine, converting the alcohol into acetic acid. While their exact caloric content may vary, there are enough wine vinegars both red and white below the 5 calorie count to consider it “calorie-free.” Better yet, it’s cheap, widely available, and a delicious addition to almost any veggies or meat!

Low-calorie condiments

Pesto

This Italian classic is made from ground or purred pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Basil is an excellent source of zinc, and pine nuts contain a good amount of healthy fat. Some pesto can lean too hard on the olive oil, so the healthiest option is usually home-made. With only three ingredients, though, it’s an easy and delicious project.

Salsa

Another simple solution to soulless suppers. Salsa covers a wide swath of different vegetable-based sauces, but the core ingredients are tomatoes, onions, peppers, and herbs. Even though salsa isn’t as calorie-free as hot sauce, its nutritional value makes it an easy trade. Just be sure to dodge storebought brands with added sugar or salt.

Greek yogurt

This one is for those who feel like they can’t do without dairy. Since it has no added sugar or other ingredients, you get the pure benefits of protein and calcium with fewer calories and less lactose. Combine greek yogurt with herbs and spices for a low-cal creamy sauce or add to granola for a guilt-free breakfast.

Balsamic Vinegar

Yes, it’s different from wine vinegar. Coming in at around 15 calories per serving, balsamic vinegar is thicker and more intense than other vinegar. The probiotics and antioxidants present in this semi-sweet syrup still outperform the natural sugars present, but it’s still best to keep an eye on portion size. Keep your body and your salad happy by not overdressing with this powerful condiment.

Keep it interesting

Eating healthy, calory-light meals can be a real challenge, but it doesn’t need to be tasteless. These calorie-free condiments can bring new flavors, textures, and nutrients to an otherwise ordinary meal. Just don’t forget that a little can go a long way.

If condiments aren’t enough to get you out of your flavor rut, why not sign up for one of Farm to Fit’s meal plans? Spiced and sauced to expert perfection and delivered right to your door!

 Farm to Fit 2021

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Signature Tortilla Espanola

Salud! Start your morning in shades of Spain with a slice of our Tortilla Espanola, smeared with lemon-sweet paprika cream and finished with Canadian bacon.

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Signature Farm to Fit Kitchen Salad

A tangy, protein-packed lunch.  Grilled chicken breast, BBQ-spiced garbanzo beans, edamame, and fresh veggies. Sprinkled with blue cheese and zesty house dressing.

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