It is recommended that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. Here are 10 tips to make sure you keep your sodium consumption on track and within the recommendations.
1. Read food labels
When you are at the grocery store, read the nutrition labels and compare it to the label of other similar products. Choose the options that have the lowest amounts of sodium. Also be sure to check for the amount of sodium per serving and compare to the number of servings per container.
2. Purchase pre-prepared meals with less than 600 milligrams of sodium.
When you are buying pre-prepared foods, look for the items that have less than 600 milligrams of sodium per meal. Fun Fact – 600 milligrams of sodium per meal is the upper limit set by the Food and Drug Administration for a meal or dish to be labeled “healthy.”
3. Purchase fresh lean meats.
When possible purchase fresh lean meats like poultry and fish rather than cured, salted, smoked and other processed meats. Also, check in the ingredients list to see if saline or salt solution has been added, if so try and find another brand.
4. Buy fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables with no salt or sauce added.
Fresh and frozen vegetable options that don’t have any sauces or seasonings added are always a safe and low sodium option. When you are buying frozen foods that have sauces and also canned vegetables look for labels that say “no salt added.”
5. Choose packaged foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
Processed and packaged foods are big culprits for having a lot of added sodium, making sure you look at the nutrition label and looking for products specifically labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added” will make a big difference in limiting your sodium intake.
6. Request the nutrition information at restaurants.
When dining out ask for the nutrition information before you order or look it up online before you go so you can select a lower sodium meal.
7. Ask for no salt.
When you are at a restaurant you can request to not have salt added to your meal.
8. Choose vegetables without added salt, fruit, or a salad for your side.
9. Split a meal with a friend or family member.
Fun Fact – this is also a great way to reduce the number of calories you consume AND cut down on costs of dining out.
10. Keep takeout and fast food for an occasional treat.
When you prepare your own foods at home you have more control over the amount of salt that is added to your meals. Reserve eating takeout or getting fast food for an occasional treat and make preparing your own meals at home your normal routine.
Written by: Coach Kayla, Health Promotion Manager