Are You Getting Too Much Salt: Most of us get more than we need. Recommendations from the American Heart Association and the U.S. government range from 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. If you want to cut back, you need to do more than ease up on the shaker on your table. Watch what you eat. You may be shocked by some of the foods that are high in salt.
They’re quick. They’re easy. And they’re loaded with sodium. A 5-ounce frozen turkey and gravy dinner packs 1,255 milligrams.
Tip: A “lighter” version may have less salt, but it’s no guarantee. Read the labels to be sure. It’s possible that “lighter” refers to fat only.
Check out the nutrition facts label. Some brands of raisin bran have up to 210 milligrams of sodium in each cup.
Tip: Puffed rice and wheat don’t have salt. Mix half of your favorite cereal with half of a salt-free choice. Or look for companies that make low-sodium cereals.
They help you get the 2 to 2.5 cups of veggies you need a day. But they can have a lot of sodium. One cup of vegetable juice cocktail has 615 milligrams.
Tip: Shop around. There are low-salt versions.
They often have preservatives, sauces, or seasonings that add extra sodium.
Tips: Rinse canned veggies thoroughly, or look for labels that say “no salt added” or “low sodium.” Check the freezer section, where you may have more luck finding an unsalted choice.
Packaged Deli Meats
One look at the salt content in packaged meats should stop you in your tracks. Two slices of dry salami made of beef or pork can have 362 milligrams of sodium.
It’s warm comfort food on a cold day, but watch out. It can be loaded with salt. A cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have 831 milligrams of sodium.
Tips: Look for reduced-sodium versions of your favorites. And always check the label carefully. You might find that one brand’s “Healthy” version actually has less sodium than the “25% Less Sodium” variety.
Marinades and Flavorings
Some of your favorites may be super salty. One tablespoon of teriyaki sauce can have 879 milligrams of sodium. The same amount of soy sauce may have up to 1,005 milligrams.
Tips: Even “lower-sodium” soy sauce can have a lot, so use it sparingly. Go for vinegar and lemon juice for flavor, since they naturally have less salt. Try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades.
Half a cup may have 577 milligrams of sodium, and that’s barely enough to coat a helping of pasta.
Tip: Look for “no salt added” versions.
Spicing It Up
Adding spices to an entrée can be an easy way to forgo the salt shaker. Just make sure there’s no hidden sodium in your selection. For example, canned jalapeno peppers (1/4 cup, solids, and liquids) have about 434 milligrams of sodium.
Tips: Go for the pepper in its natural form to ditch the sodium used in processing. Or use herbs and salt-free spices instead.
Rethink those salty peanuts. An ounce of most dry-roasted brands has 116 milligrams of sodium.
Tips: For about the same amount of calories, an ounce of oil-roasted, salted peanuts has only 76 milligrams of sodium. Or better yet, buy the unsalted variety, which is practically sodium-free.
They’re hard to resist, but they may have a lot of sodium. Potato chips have 136 milligrams per ounce, cheese puffs 263 milligrams per ounce, and pretzels 352 milligrams per ounce.
Tip: Even “baked” or fat-free snacks can have the same amount of sodium or more, so check the label 🙂 🙂