Swing it, Salsa!

Question: "[My friend] and I have been regularly eating lots of salsa at a nearby Mexican place.  I always figured that salsa was better for you than other snacks.  But how healthy is it for you?  I guess it'd depend on the brand too."

Short Answer: Yup, salsa has won the prize as perhaps the healthiest condiment.

Long Answer:   Salsa, unless eaten in very large amounts, is not a significant source of nutrients and vitamins.  But it adds a punch of flavor for very few calories. 
Salsa literally means "sauce," and it comes in many forms.   1/4 cup of a basic tomato, garlic, onion, and cilantro salsa will contain 1 gram protein, 2 grams sugar, 0.1gram fat, 0.4 gram salt, and a whopping 17 calories.  It has trace amounts of minerals and vitamins, but not enough to significantly contribute to the Recommended Daily Allowance.

Other variaties will have different nutrient information depending on ingredients and preparation.  The addition of black beans, corn, and peppers will increase calories.  Be aware of added sugar and salt in store-bought varieties.  Nevertheless, salsa is a low-fat, low-calorie, and flavor-bursting condiment.  Salsa is particularly useful as a replacement for higher calorie foods such as dips, dressings, sour cream, and ketchup.  Over the summer my favorite crunchy snack was baby carrots and salsa--the spicier the better!

All calorie and nutrient information are taken from the USDA National Nutrient Database.  Check it out and look up your favorite foods!

This is just for fun:  Here's some comparisons between the salsa and his side-kick burrito.     

1/4 cup salsa= 17 kcal
8" flour tortilla= 287 kcal
1/2 cup refried beans= 109 kcal
1/2 cup rice= 102 kcal
2 oz steak= 125 kcal
2 tablespoon regular sour cream= 46 kcal
2 tablespoon guacamole= 45 kcal (estimate)
1/4 cup regular cheddar cheese, shredded= 113 kcal
Total = 844 kcal

When it comes to salsa, I'm a fan.  So find me on the dance floor!
*If you have health or nutrition related questions, please comment or email me (coconutcrumbsblog@gmail.com).  I'll try crack the coconut for you!*


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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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