Turns out it can be boiled down to ten popular foods.
What comes as a surprise to most is that sodium doesn’t just exist in that shaker. Or that bottle of soy sauce. Or on top of French fries. But that high sodium counts can be found in soups, cheeses, and pizza and even more surprisingly, in less obvious culprits like bread, milk, and that seemingly healthy whole wheat sandwich with oven-roasted deli meat.
That “healthy choice” lunch alone, even without mayo, can cost you upwards of 800mg of sodium.
Surprise is right.
Ok, so what do we take away from all of us?
Beyond a lesson in where sodium lies, it is more importantly a lesson on making more informed eating choices.
Everything from chips, to chicken, and even balsamic vinegar can vary in sodium depending on the brand and how it has been processed. So while you can memorize numbers and lists, the best thing to do is be conscious of the products, produce, and proteins you buy in order to make the lowest sodium choices possible.
And if something doesn’t exist in the stores–low-sodium cheddar cheese for example–get on the interweb. You never know what you’ll find. And if you find something you like, take it back to your grocer to see if they’ll carry it.
Be proactive and be full.
In the meantime, find my favorite low-sodium versions of the CDC’s high sodium culprits, to help those, ready to make a switch, do so with ease and flavor.
2. COLD CUTS & CURED MEAT
skip the sausage and make your own
make your own crust and sauce
be sure to only buy poultry that is air-chilled, which means it isn’t plumped with salt solutions
when dining out, always ask if the poultry has been brined: If yes, avoid. If no, enjoy.
leave the cans on the shelves and make low-sodium microwavable soups of your own
instead of bread, try thick rice crackers
or skip the bread and use corn tortillas or collard greens to make a hearty wrap
some ricotta has only 24mg sodium per 1/4 cup
low-sodium cheddar, swiss, no-salt added cottage cheese, and even paneer all exist
8. PASTA DISHES
noodles aren’t the culprit, salted water, salty sauces, and salty meats are
use no-salt added canned tomato for a quick pasta fix at home
even macaroni and “cheese” is possible, with some creativity
make your own burger patties full of herbs and spices, not salt
leave the salt shaker aside and let the natural saltiness of the meat shine with long roasts and braises
look for no-salt added corn and potato chips
get squirrel-y and eat dried fruits and nuts