I’m a label reader. One hundred percent. Every time I go to the grocery store, I always read the nutrition labels on the foods I buy. One of the things I pay close attention to is the sodium content of foods. Sodium is necessary for a healthy diet, but it’s easy to go overboard. It’s recommended we get 2300 milligrams of sodium at most each day, but a lot people consume way more than that. I’m always shocked at the sodium content of certain foods. How do you avoid excess sodium? One way, is to do as I do, and read the label. I tend to pass up any food items that have a sodium count over 250, and that’s on the absolute high end for my liking. Another way is to look for naturally low sodium foods.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
First up on the foods that are low in sodium are fruits and vegetables. This is probably an obvious answer, but these foods are extremely healthy for you, beyond their lack of sodium. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. They’re also loaded with fiber. It’s always best to choose whole fruits and vegetables, and avoid the canned stuff. Fruits and vegetables that come in cans have very high sodium contents, and are best to be avoided. If you already have cans of fruits or vegetables, there’s no need to toss them out. You can still eat them. To avoid the sodium, put the fruits or vegetables in a bowl, and rinse them with cold water. Most of the salt content will be gone after a few thorough rinses.
Fresh Meat & Poultry
Fresh meat and poultry are also naturally low in sodium. The sodium content for half a skinless chicken breast is just 77 milligrams. A 4 oz ground turkey patty contains about 88 milligrams of sodium. Be sure to read the label on poultry and meat packages to be sure. There are some products that are injected with a salt water solution to give the poultry or meat a plumper look.
Herbs & Spices
Instead of using table salt to flavor your meals, use herbs and spices. Adding the zest of an orange is a good option when cooking chicken. There’s absolutely no sodium in the zest of an orange. Adding one tablespoon of ground ginger to your meal only adds about 2 milligrams of sodium. Garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt are other spices that are low in sodium.
Avoid Salt When Possible
Beans, peas, lentils, rice, and pasta are also naturally low sodium foods. When you cook these food items, don’t add salt to the water. Pasta can get a boost in flavor but adding vegetables to it. There’s nothing better than a plate of whole wheat pasta with steamed broccoli tossed into it. Olive oil is OK to toss the pasta with as it contains no sodium at all.
You might think breakfast foods are loaded with sodium. It’s all in the way they’re prepared. Eggs are usually cooked in butter and then have salt poured onto them. That’s what makes them unhealthy. Take a look at one Grade A extra large white egg. It only contains 75 milligrams of sodium. If you cook that egg in a pan that’s been coated with olive oil, and then you add no salt to it after, you have a healthy breakfast option. You can have oatmeal on the side, another low sodium breakfast food, and a piece of fruit, making it a nutritious and full meal.
If you have a taste for salt, that doesn’t mean you’re destined to have bland meals forever. Instead of salt, try spices and herbs. Gradually decrease your use of salt over time, and eventually you won’t even need any salt, other than what recipes require. People that have cut down their salt intake find that after several weeks, they don’t miss the taste. When you read nutrition labels, cut down the use of salt, and buy naturally low sodium foods, you’ll end up with a healthier diet.