Limiting salt is a daunting task. Fast food, restaurants, and convenience foods are FULL of the stuff, making it difficult to decrease salt when we are on the run; and, what’s worse is that when we do commit to limiting salt, it’s not always the obvious culprits that jack-up sodium intake. For your reference, when limiting sodium intake, it is recommended to keep sodium to less than 700 mg per meal and less than 140 mg per snack. Here is a list of 5 surprising items that may be pushing your sodium intake over the limit!
1) Bread: brining lunch to work or school is a great way to avoid sodium in fast food; but, one slice of white bread has about 330 mg, which is just about half of our allotment for the entire meal. Whole wheat bread has less with 115 mg per slice, so choosing whole grain will decrease salt intake.
2) Cereal: sodium in cereals can vary from 0 mg (shredded wheat) to over 250 mg (honey nut Cheerios). Look at food labels and try to keep sodium below 250 mg per serving in cereals.
3) Vegetable juice: vegetable juice is a great swap for fruit juice for avoiding simple sugar, but bottled vegetable juices can pack a ton of salt! 1 cup of original V8 juice has 640 mg of sodium. A low sodium version only has 140 mg; but juicing your own vegetables is always a better options; and, even better yet: eat raw vegetables to get all the fiber removed during the juicing process.
4) Ketchup: Removing salt from the diet can give a “bland” flavor to our meals if we don’t know how to use salt-free seasoning; so, some of us may reach for condiments or other ways to amp up the flavor. 1 Tbl of ketchup has over 150 mg of sodium, though. Herbs and spices are a great way to flavor meals without salt, and for condiment lovers: yellow mustard is a salt-free option.
5) Marinades and sauces: While it is admirable to start cooking meals, be careful with pre-made sauces and marinades. Always choose “low sodium” options or, even better, make your own salt-free marinades or pasta sauce.
Lifestyle changes take time and are usually best accomplished in stages. Set one short-term goal, start working towards that, and continue to set additional goals that will lead you towards your long-term goal. If decreasing sodium intake is your goal, what has worked for you? What small steps have you taken so far? Where do you hope to be in the long-run?