Tajín is a popular Mexican seasoning that is often used to flavor fruits, vegetables, meats, and snacks. Its blend of chile, lime, and sea salt adds zesty flavor without much effort. One of Tajín’s main selling points is that it’s low in calories – the packaging states that it contains 0 calories per serving. But is this calorie count really accurate? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and nutrition facts.
What is Tajín?
Tajín is a chili-lime seasoning produced by the Mexican company Salsa Tamazula. The key ingredients in Tajín are:
- Chile peppers – This provides heat and red coloring.
- Dehydrated lime juice – Adds tangy, citrusy flavor.
- Sea salt – Enhances flavor.
- Dextrin – A natural starch that acts as an anti-caking agent.
In addition to the classic blend, Tajín has expanded its product line to offer low-sodium, sugar-free, and clásico varieties. Tajín can be found in the spice aisle at most major grocery stores.
Tajín Nutrition Facts
Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for Tajín straight from the bottle:
|1/4 tsp (0.8g)
|Amount Per Serving
As you can see, the label states that Tajín contains 0 calories per 1/4 teaspoon serving. It also contains 0g of fat, carbs, and protein. The only nutrient with a notable amount is 90mg of sodium.
How Accurate is the Calorie Count?
At first glance, Tajín’s 0 calorie claim may seem questionable. After all, it’s made from chile peppers, lime juice powder, and salt – ingredients that do contain calories. However, when you consider the very small serving size of 1/4 teaspoon, the 0 calorie count makes more sense. Let’s take a closer look:
- Chile peppers – Fresh chile peppers contain around 20 calories per tablespoon. But Tajín contains dried, crushed chile peppers, so the calorie content is much less.
- Lime juice powder – In its dehydrated form, the lime juice concentrate contains negligible calories.
- Salt – Table salt contains 0 calories. The small amount of sea salt in Tajín adds a trace amount of calories.
- Dextrin – This natural starch provides only about 4 calories per gram. The tiny amount in Tajín adds minimal calories.
So while the full ingredients do contain calories, the small serving size means each sprinkle of Tajín realistically contains next to no calories. The FDA does allow companies to list fewer than 5 calories as 0 calories. Overall, Tajín’s calorie count can be considered accurate.
Should You Count the Calories?
While Tajín contains negligible calories per serving, should you still count and track them? Here are a few factors to consider:
- If you use a very generous amount of Tajín, the calories can add up. Counting may be prudent in this case.
- If you are closely monitoring your calorie intake for weight or health reasons, you may want to count Tajín’s calories to stay accurate.
- If you only use a sprinkle or two per meal, the calories are trivial enough that counting isn’t necessary.
- Pay attention to sodium content if you are limiting salt intake.
In general, being aware of serving sizes and portions is important for any low-calorie seasoning. A few shakes of Tajín add plenty of flavor without significant calories. But heaping spoonfuls could push up the calorie count.
How Does Tajín Compare to Other Seasonings?
To put Tajín’s calorie count in context, let’s see how it compares to some other popular seasonings:
|Calories per 1/4 Teaspoon
|Old Bay Seasoning
As you can see, many herbs and spice seasonings contain negligible calories similar to Tajín. Salt, Mrs. Dash, and some chili/lime seasonings offer bold flavor for 0 calories. On the higher end, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and Old Bay provide a few calories per 1/4 teaspoon serving. But the difference is minor.
Tips for Using Tajín
Here are some tips for enjoying Tajín’s zesty flavor while keeping calories in check:
- Use Tajín to season fruits and vegetables instead of higher-calorie dressings or butters.
- Sprinkle Tajín on popcorn or nuts for flavor without adding extra oil or salt.
- Add a dash of Tajín to grilled meats, fish, or chicken.
- Use Tajín to rim cocktail glasses instead of sugar or salt.
- Start with a small sprinkle of Tajín, taste, and add more as needed.
- Look for no added sugar or sodium reduced varieties if you need to limit those nutrients.
Is Tajín Healthy?
While Tajín is low in calories, is it considered a healthy seasoning option? Here’s a quick rundown of some pros and cons:
- Low calorie way to add lots of flavor
- Vegan and gluten-free
- No added sugars
- Has some vitamin C from lime juice powder
- Versatile to use on fruits, veggies, meats, etc.
- Can be high in sodium (but low sodium options available)
- Spicy heat may be unsuitable for some people
- Not organic; contains natural preservatives
Overall, Tajín can be part of a healthy diet when used in moderation to season whole foods. But those limiting sodium or spice may need to use caution.
Ingredients to Watch Out For
While standard Tajín only contains chile, lime, salt, and dextrin, some varieties include additional ingredients to be aware of:
- Sugar – Some flavored Tajín seasonings contain sugar, which will add calories and affect blood sugar levels.
- Artificial colors – Tajín Clásico includes artificial color Yellow 6.
- Anti-caking agents – Contains silicon dioxide in small amounts.
- Natural flavors – Unclear exactly what these are derived from.
Check labels and select standard Tajín or low-sodium Tajín to avoid unnecessary additives. The classic chili-lime and salt-focused blends tend to be the simplest.
DIY Low Calorie Tajín Seasoning
Want to make your own low calorie Tajín at home? Here’s an easy recipe to try:
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons lime juice powder (or zest from 2 fresh limes)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
- Sprinkle on fruits, veggies, meats, popcorn, nuts, etc.
- Store in the refrigerator to maximize freshness.
This easy 5-ingredient blend lets you control the ingredients. Play around with the spice proportions to suit your taste. Just 1/4 teaspoon of this seasoning will add about 3 calories, so it’s still an extremely low calorie way to add flavor.
The Bottom Line
While Tajín does contain trace calories from its chili pepper, lime juice, and salt, the amount is trivial per tiny serving size. The FDA allows anything under 5 calories to be listed as 0. Overall, Tajín lives up to its low calorie claim while providing a tasty punch of flavor. Just be mindful of portion sizes, as heaping spoonfuls can quickly add excess sodium and calories. Use Tajín to spice up fruits, veggies, meats, and more without worrying about significant calories. Moderation and variety are key when incorporating this zesty seasoning into an overall healthy diet.