Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Tips on eating less sodium
Flavor your food with fresh fruit to avoid salty seasonings
Shoot for a total of 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily if you're healthy and 2,000 milligrams or lower if you have a cardiovascular condition or risk factors.
Start gradually and work up to bigger changes. Initially your palate may balk at the bland taste, but within a month or two you'll probably prefer low-salt foods.
Avoid seasonings that taste salty such as bouillon cubes, meat tenderizer, soy sauce and steak sauce.
Read food labels. A surprising number of processed foods contain "hidden" sodium even if they don't taste salty. Look for canned veggies labeled "no salt added," as well as "low-salt" or "low-sodium" labels on cans and packages (only allowed if the food has 140 milligrams or less per serving).
Check food labels for the number of servings. If more than one, multiply total servings by the amount of sodium listed on the label to get the total amount of sodium in the can or package.
Scrutinize labels of over-the-counter medicines. Products may include sodium biphosphate, sodium saccarin, sodium phosphates, sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate.
Use fresh fruits, vegetables and other ingredients. These are naturally low in sodium and usually taste better than processed food.
Go easy on -- or avoid -- cheeses and other processed, salty or cured foods including bacon, ham, sausage, salted butter and margarine; hot dogs and other deli items; prepackaged frozen dinners; pre-seasoned mixes (i.e. tacos, chili, rices, sauces and gravies); snack foods such as pretzels, potato chips, olives and pickles; salad dressings and fast food.
Especially high in sodium are canned goods such as soups, meats and fish (water-packed tuna or salmon is better).
Ban the salt shaker from your table.
Keep a supply of low-sodium snacks handy -- at home or at work. These may include fresh fruit, raw vegetables, popcorn cakes, unsalted rice, low fat or non-fat yogurt, frozen juice bars and popcorn kernels to prepare without salt.
Drain and rinse canned vegetables and meats packed in liquid brine before preparing a meal. Get rid of the salty liquid.
Look for the American Heart Association "check mark" while shopping -- given to food products meeting the agency's heart-healthy criteria that includes 480 milligrams or less of sodium per serving.
Low Sodium Web Resources: California Project Lean, www.californiaprojectlean.org; American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org; American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org Reach Mike Schwartz at 951-368-9591or mschwartz@PE.com