Healthy eating always seems to be on everyone’s mind. There are so many different things to look at, it can make shopping and cooking feel like a chore. One important point to take notice of is sodium. For Americans without high blood pressure or hypertension, the recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 mg or less. However, the average American consumes over 3400 mg a day! Meeting with a Registered Dietitian can help you stay within your sodium limits. I work out of the Syracuse, NY Healing Arts Center, which offers nutritional counseling, as well as other services to promote your well-being.
When aiming to eat less sodium, the easiest thing to do is get rid of the salt shaker. Try using herbs and spices to season your food instead. But beware, if the word “salt” is on the label, then the product contains salt.
Next, limit your servings of processed and convenience foods. Frozen foods that are labeled “healthy” or “lean” can still contain more sodium than needed at a meal. Any canned foods, such as soups, vegetables or beans will have additional sodium. It is best to make your own soups and buy fresh or frozen vegetables and dried beans. If you have to buy canned, make sure that you run the vegetables or bean under running water to help decrease the amount of sodium.
Fast foods and restaurant foods are another avenue to get more sodium than desired. Ask your waiter to tell the chef not to use salt in the preparation of your food. Anything that is fried is going to be loaded with sodium, so go with grilled, baked or broiled meals instead.
It is almost impossible to eat sodium free (and our bodies do need some sodium). Aim to get about 600 mg per meal, and about and about 150 mg per snack. If you do eat more sodium at one meal, a good idea is to eat a lower sodium meal later to balance out your intake.
Heather Neely, RD, CDN