Last summer I lost 15 pounds in 4 months by removing sodium from his diet. Mrs. Dash was our best friend. Our biggest surprise in sodium loaded foods was canned veggies. My diet consisted of LOTS of boiled chicken seasoned with onions and garlic, fresh steamed veggies, nuts, fresh and dried fruit. It was difficult to do this while traveling, but he managed to get through it and now has slowly introduced it back in to his diet, yet has kept the weight off.
Salt is America’s favorite food ingredient. Salt is used both in processed foods
and home cooking. Americans consume about 2 to 4 teaspoons of salt a day. According to
the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should have no more than 2,300 mg
(or about 1 teaspoon) of sodium a day from all sources. Sodium plays a role in hypertension (or “high blood pressure”)
development in many individuals. Cutting back on salt and sodium is a good idea for everybody, even kids.
1. Think Fresh
Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in packaged
foods. Eat less often highly processed foods—especially
salty chips; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs,
and luncheon meats; canned entrées, like chili and ravioli; and
2. Enjoy Full-Flavored, Home-Prepared Foods
Use herbs and spices to flavor foods. Preparing your
own foods allows you to control the amount of sodium
you eat. Make your own salad dressings with herb mixes
instead of buying pre-packed ones.
3. Fill Up on Foods Naturally Low in Sodium
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and cooked dry beans
and lentils. Many Americans need to eat 3 cups—and
for some people up to a total of 6 cups—of fruits and
vegetables each day, depending on the amount of calories
needed. Go to MyPyramid.gov to find out the amount of
fruits and vegetables YOU need.
4. Get Enough, but Not Too Much, of Some Other Foods Low in Sodium
Find out the specific amount of foods YOU need from
the Milk Group and the Meat & Beans Group by going to
MyPyramid.gov. Choose fresh cuts of beef, pork, poultry,
fish, or eggs—and eat just the amount you need. Choose
low-sodium cheese. Choose fat-free milk or reduced fat
5. Learn to Enjoy the Natural Taste of Foods
Savor the flavor of simply prepared foods. Try cutting
back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the
natural tastes and textures of various foods.
6. Skip the Salt
Table salt (sodium chloride) is approximately 40%
sodium. Just skip adding salt when cooking. Keep
salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table.
7. Read the Label
Use the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients
statement to find foods lower in sodium. Look for
foods labeled “low sodium” or “reduced sodium.” Foods
with less than 140 mg sodium per serving can be labeled
as low-sodium foods.
8. Learn the Lingo
Besides “salt,” sodium comes in a range of forms.
When reading ingredient statements, look for:
sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, sodium ascorbate, etc.
Limit sodium and salt in food.
9. Ask for Low-Sodium Foods Where
you Eat out or Shop
Ask for what you want. The marketplace is changing
and supermarkets and food manufacturers want to sell
healthier foods. Many restaurants will prepare low-sodium
foods at your request and will serve sauces and salad
dressings on the side so you can use less. The more you
make your low sodium demands known, the greater the
chance that food companies will change their recipes.
10. Pay Attention to the Condiments
and Seasonings You Use
Some seasonings are just about as high in
sodium as regular table salt. So, instead of onion salt,
use onion powder or replace garlic salt with fresh garlic.
Limit the amount of brined or pickled foods. Buy lowsodium
soy sauce. Use only a sprinkling of flavoring
packets instead of the entire packet.