Is salsa good for weight loss? While salsa and chips aren’t the best option for losing weight, salsa by itself is a high volume, low calorie food. This recipe for low calorie salsa for weight loss is delicious over lean proteins for a variety of healthy meals. You’ll love this easy homemade salsa recipe that’s naturally vegan, low fat, and gluten free.
Have you been wondering about salsa and weight loss? If we’re talking salsa dance for weight loss, it’s a fun form of aerobic exercise that can help you burn fat.
As far as the food, salsa is a great snack that’s packed with fruits and veggies. In most cases, I’m comfortable with saying salsa is good for you.
However, the way that most people eat salsa, with a pile of tortilla chips, is not a good weight loss option. It’s the high calorie chips that people tend to overindulge in. The salsa itself is low cal and among the healthiest dips for tortilla chips.
So, when someone asks “Is salsa fattening?” or “Is salsa unhealthy?” this dietitian’s answer is no. Enjoy a delicious tomato salsa, mango salsa, salsa with black beans, or another variety. They all have a lot to offer nutritionally, and are great for weight watchers.
Though tomato salsas tend to be lowest in calories, I’d argue there isn’t one best salsa for weight loss. Instead of trying to find the healthiest salsa as weight loss food, simply choose one with flavors you like and no added sugar. (Of course, if you’re losing weight with a low carb keto diet, you’ll need a skinny salsa dip that fits that plan.)
- 📋 How many calories in salsa?
- ❓ Why is salsa so low in calories?
- ⭐ Vitamins in Salsa
- 🥘 Salsa for Weight Loss Ingredients
- 🔪 How to Make Low Calorie Salsa
- 🌡️ Storing Salsa Leftovers
- 🍅 Foods to Eat with Salsa for Weight Loss
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Salsa Recipes for Losing Weight
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
📋 How many calories in salsa?
How many calories in one cup of salsa? Per Cronometer, one cup of store-bought salsa has only 75 calories. (This is for regular tomato salsa.)
One serving of this salsa for weight loss recipe has 64 calories, 12.7 grams net carbs, and 0.2 grams protein. Salsa is a low-calorie food.
❓ Why is salsa so low in calories?
Salsa is low in calories because it is basically just fruits and veggies without oil, sugar, or flour. You’re not getting energy-dense saturated fat or a lot of carbs when you eat salsa. Instead, you’re getting fluid-filled produce and fiber.
⭐ Vitamins in Salsa
What are the health benefits of salsa? The nutrients in salsa will vary by the brand or type of salsa you make. Here are the vitamins and minerals in the low-calorie salsa recipe below (nutrition information per serving):
- Vitamin C: 10.4% DV
- Vitamin A: 0.5% DV (vitamins A and C are important antioxidants)
- Potassium: 131.2 mg (potassium helps your body maintain a healthy blood pressure for a healthy heart)
- Calcium: 6.3% DV
- Iron: 1.4% DV
Salsa also contains non-essential phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, that may also provide benefits. For instance, jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin, which may provide a teeny tiny metabolic boost. Salsa is also a hydrating food, and (at least IMVHO) it’s delicious.
🥘 Salsa for Weight Loss Ingredients
What are the ingredients for salsa for weight loss? There are endless possibilities for delish salsa combos out there. Here’s the shopping list for the recipe below:
- Frozen cranberries
- Fresh pears
- Grated fresh ginger
- Orange juice (fresh squeezed)
- Orange zest
Find specific quantities of ingredients in the recipe card at the end of the post!
Using unsweetened frozen cranberries allows you to create this dish outside of cranberry season. The sweetness is provided by pears in this salsa, so the cranberries need no added sugar.
You need a good knife, lemon juice squeezer, and zester (or fine grater) to make this salsa. No fancy or expensive kitchen equipment is required for this quick and easy recipe!
🔪 How to Make Low Calorie Salsa
Take the cranberries out of the freezer when you are ready to start chopping. They will defrost by the time the dish is ready; there is no need to thaw them ahead of time. The slightly mushy consistency of thawed frozen fruit makes for a great salsa.
Quarter the frozen cranberries and cut the unpeeled, cored pears into a ½-inch dice or smaller (1.27 cm). If you want a pico de gallo-style fruit salsa, chop the pears very small. Finely chop the jalapeno; remove the seeds if you want less spicy heat.
Grate the ginger and zest the orange. Squeeze some juice from the orange.
Now all that’s left to do is stir all of the ingredients together. Refrigerate the salsa, allowing the flavors to meld and marry, until serving time. So simple!
🌡️ Storing Salsa Leftovers
You can keep homemade salsa in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Do not freeze fresh salsa (e.g., uncooked salsa). Homemade salsas with certain ingredients (pears, apples, avocado, etc.) may experience browning if not enjoyed within one day.
Some tomato salsas may be canned for long-term preservation. Fresh fruit salsa and pico de gallo should not be canned.
🍅 Foods to Eat with Salsa for Weight Loss
What to eat with salsa? Here are some low calorie ways to eat salsa:
- Serve this sweet and tart condiment over pork loin, chicken, turkey, tempeh, or white fish for dinner.
- Use the salsa to add flavor to whole grains (such as quinoa) instead of margarine or butter.
- Serve with low carb dippers for salsa (e.g., bell pepper sticks, jicama, cucumber slices).
Here I’ve served the salsa over a boneless seasoned pork chop with broccoli and wild rice on the side. This salsa also makes an excellent alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving canned cranberry sauce. Regular tomato salsa can also be used on air fryer burgers, sandwiches, wraps, or with fried eggs.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may support fat loss). For weight loss purposes, what you eat salsa with is more important than the salsa itself. Salsa is a low-calorie fruit and vegetable-packed food that can flavor many delicious and light dinners.
There are endless produce combinations you can use for a 5-minute salsa (or 10-15 minutes, depending on how fast you chop). It’s an easy way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake and add volume to meals without many calories.
Many recipes using cranberries contain a lot of added sugar. Using pears to sweeten the cranberries here instead of corn syrup brings the calories down and the fiber up! That’s one of the wonderful things about homecooking- you get to decide exactly what goes into the food.
One cup of cooked or raw veggies counts as a serving on the MyPlate. (That’s a lot of salsa!) In the U.S. School Lunch Program, ¼ cup salsa counts as a vegetable serving (USDA).
Most popular salsa brands are low calorie. That includes Doritos salsa, Tostitos, Old El Paso, Ortega, Amy’s salsa, and Great Value brand. Most homemade salsa recipes are also low calorie.
Low sodium means the salsa has 140 mg of less of sodium per serving (FDA). This is 5% DV or less of sodium per serving. Read the nutrition label on your favorite salsas to find low sodium options.
Two tablespoons of fresh tomato salsa has 1.5 grams of net carbs per serving (per Cronometer). Salsa is a low carb and keto friendly food. Fruit salsas and salsa with added sugar will have higher net carbs than most unsweetened salsa with tomatoes.
The main issue with store bought salsa is that it can be very high in sodium. Additionally, some people complain that salsa is bad for your stomach, because the spicy ingredients give them heartburn. Also, we may be more likely to overeat chips when served with yummy salsa.
The best substitute for salsa depends on your nutritional needs and how you plan to use it. Hot sauce can replace a little bit of salsa and guacamole is a tasty high cal salsa alternative. In some cases, tomato sauce can replace salsa in recipes.
👩🏻🍳 Other Salsa Recipes for Losing Weight
- Peach and Pineapple Salsa
- Cherry Peach Salsa
- Also check out the strawberry kiwi salsa that goes with Frozen Cod in the Air Fryer
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Low Calorie Salsa for Weight Loss (Easy Recipe!)
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberries (frozen)
- 2 cups pears, cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped (keep the seeds for a hot salsa)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Quarter the frozen cranberries and cut the unpeeled, cored pears into a ½-inch dice or smaller (1.27 cm). If you want a pico de gallo-style fruit salsa, chop the pears very small. Finely chop the jalapeno; remove the seeds if you want less spicy heat.
- Grate the ginger and zest the orange. Squeeze some juice from the orange.
- Stir all of the ingredients together. Refrigerate the salsa, allowing the flavors to meld and marry, until serving time. Enjoy!