Cutting Back on Sodium: How Much Is Too Much?, Low-Sodium Products, and Sodium-Reducing Tips
I'm always hearing that "sodium is bad" and that I shouldn't eat too much salt. I don't have any special dietary restrictions from my doctor and have been told I'm in good health… but should I be concerned about my sodium intake anyway?
Feeling Kinda Salty
I hear this question a lot! For the record, I'm not a nutritionist or medical expert, so any info I pass along is not meant to be taken as such. That said…
The FDA and American Heart Association recommend no more than 2,300mg a day for most adults. While not everyone is on a sodium-restricted diet, experts do often say that the typical American generally consumes more sodium than they should. The culprit, however, is less frequently the salt shaker and more often the sodium found in packaged and processed foods. (Example: When was the last time you checked the sodium in your bread?)
So, while I can't say for sure whether you personally need to reduce your daily sodium, what I CAN do is provide you with some of my best tips & tricks for slashing salt without losing flavor…
Tricks for Saving Sodium
Reduce or omit condiments. I know, I love ‘em too! But mustard, hot sauce, salad dressing, etc., tend to be high in salt. (This also applies to any pickled items.) If you can't find reduced-sodium options, use less or skip 'em altogether. FYI: A little chili powder can replace the heat of hot sauce, and if your food is missing that tanginess, reach for vinegar or a splash of citrus.
Swap in meat for meatless crumbles. Soy crumbles are a great vegetarian swap, but they usually have more sodium than fresh meat. If you're an omnivore but are watching your sodium intake, you might be better off with lean/extra-lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef.
Turn to tomatoes. For any recipe that calls for jarred salsa, try fresh pico de gallo or a DIY blend of chopped tomatoes, onions, and herbs. You can also use canned crushed tomatoes in place of pizza sauce or pasta sauce. Just season it up, and you're good to go.
Top Salt-Slashing Grocery Staples
- Dash Salt-Free Seasoning Blends, Mixes & Marinades
- Heinz No Salt Added Ketchup
- StarKist Reduced, Less & Low Sodium Tuna Pouches
- Boar's Head Lower Sodium Deli Meats, Cheeses & More
- Amy’s Light in Sodium Soups, Chili, Beans & Entrées
- Ortega Reduced Sodium Chili Seasoning Mix and Burrito Seasoning Mix
- Toufayan Low Carb–Low Sodium Wraps
P.S. Spend some time at the supermarket, flipping over packages and finding your best bets! The numbers might surprise you, for better or worse…
Bonus Reference: Reading Food Labels
• Reduced/Less Sodium: Compared to the regular version of that food, this has at least 25% less sodium. (Just because it has LESS doesn't mean it's LOW in sodium.)
• Light in Sodium: Similarly, this has at least 50% less sodium than the original.
• Low Sodium: Typically 140mg or less per serving. Very Low = 35mg or less.
• No Salt Added: This one really depends on how high in sodium the food itself is to begin with. Still, it generally signals something is pretty low in salt.
• Sodium Free: The lowest of the low. 5mg or less per serving.
Have fun being as salty (or salt-free) as you like!
Chew on this:
Today, April 20th, is Lima Bean Respect Day... and it's also National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, so we're celebrating that instead with these mini cakes. (Sorry, lima beans—we still respect you!)
Help out any pals trying to eat less salt by passing along this email.
Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).
We may receive affiliate compensation from some of these links. Prices and availability are subject to change.
We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.
*The WW points values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the SmartPoints® and PersonalPoints™ trademarks.
Questions on the WW points values listed? Click here.
Hungry Girl provides general information about food and lifestyle. This information and any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Click here for more information.