Counting Calories
In Condiments & Spreads

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Condiments add a lot of flavor to foods for tiny calories. But as with all additives, a little goes a long way.

The following foods are based on one Tablespoon unless noted.


High in saturated fat but when only one pat of butter is used, it contains a moderate 32 calories and is big on flavor.


Moderately high in sodium but low in caloric content for 16 tiny kcals.

Chow Chow

The sour recipe is a tiny 35 kcals per 1/2 cup serving while its sweet counterpart is a hefty 142 kcals. You will need to avoid if you are allergic to aspirin.


This refers to the prepared horseradish found in a container at your local market. Avoid if allergic to allyl isothiocyanate, an oil present in horseradish. One teaspoon contains a whopping 2 calories.

Lemon Juice

A single tablespoon provides 12% of daily requirement of Vitamin C for only 4 kcals.

Olives, Black - 5 large

Black olives make great options but are both high in sodium content - so dieter beware. They contain no cholesterol and a surprising amount of iron. 60 kcals

Olives, Green - 5 large

High in monounsaturated fat; some protein and dietary fiber present. These are the unripened version of black olives and contain more than twice the sodium. 60 kcals

Pickles, Dill - 1 to 2 ounces, depending upon brand or recipe.

Very high in sodium; fantastic in the calorie department!  Avoid if allergic to salicylate. 12 kcals

Pickles, Sweet OR Sour- 1 ounce

Virtually zero fat but high in sodium. Avoid if allergic to salicylate. 41 kcals for sweet pickles and only 4 for sour.

Pickle Relish-Sour

Packed with sodium. May aggravate canker sores. Avoid if you have mold allergies. 3 kcals

Pickle Relish-Sweet

Packed with sodium. Avoid if you have mold allergies. 21 kcals


Avoid if allergic to mold.  May trigger headaches. 2 kcals

Jams, Jellies, Preserves

Most jams, jellies and preserves contain about 50 calories.  Measure out your portions. 50+ kcals depending upon the brand and recipe used.

Apple Butter

Low in fat and a good choice for dieters for only 33 kcals.


Contains folate and B-12 Vitamins. 1/3 cup contains 140 kcals.

Mayonnaise - 1 teaspoon

Almost all the fat calories are converted to body fat. 50 to 100+ kcals.


Healthier alternative to Mayo though high in sodium. 14 kcals


The varieties which contain whole seeds taste fabulous! Opt for this over Mayo and save tons of calories. Only 11 kcals per serving.


Packed with iron but a high 131 calories per ounce.

Peanut Butter - 2 Tablespoons

Good source of protein and fiber. Should not be given to kids under 5 due to choking related deaths.  Serving size will equal size of a golf ball.

Calories vary per brand but average at about 200 per serving. The whipped varieties contain about 140 kcals and my favorite option when I'm craving peanut butter.

Margarines - 2 Teaspoons

Both the stick and soft margarines are high in fat and sodium. Caloric values dependent upon brand used but average at 68 kcals. Light brands are more forgiving for dieters.

Cashew Butter

Low in sodium and no cholesterol. Makes a healthier choice over butter and other oil-based condiments because unlike these, nut butters contain nutritional benefits. 94 kcals per serving.


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