Taking the saltshaker off the table is a smart move, but there’s more to slashing sodium (and protecting your heart) than succumbing to unadulterated meat and vegetables. Eighty percent of the salt that Americans eat comes from processed and packaged foods, according to a new CDC report. That same study shows that men take in the most sodium, downing 4,575 mg per day, almost double the recommended max of 2,300 mg.
Curious about just how much salt is hiding in popular supermarket and restaurant foods? Check out the list below to learn how much sodium you could skip by making more meals at home.
Skip this: Panera Bread Bacon Turkey Bravo Sandwich – 2,820 mg sodium
Make this instead: Homemade Turkey, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich – 200 mg sodium (Get the recipe)
Skip this: T.G.I. Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Sampler – 4,510 mg sodium
Make this instead: Homemade Chicken Fingers with BBQ Sauce – about 400 mg sodium (Get the recipe)
Skip this: Digiorno Pepperoni Pizza – 960 mg sodium
Make this instead: Homemade Flatbread Pizza – 500 mg sodium (Get the recipe)
Skip this: Campbell’s Chunky Kickin’ Buffalo-Style Chicken Soup – 790 mg sodium
Make this instead: Homemade Crab and Corn Chowder – 290 mg sodium (Get the recipe)
Some things to keep in mind when easing up on salt:
- Each teaspoon of salt equals about 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
- Sea salt and table salt have the same amount of sodium, so don’t be fooled by packaged foods that tout “made with sea salt”—they’re not necessarily healthier.
- When you’re at the grocery store, compare mg of sodium, even among seemingly unsalty foods, like cereals and breads. For example, pumpernickel bread contains 430 mg of sodium per slice, while 100% whole-wheat bread has only 230 mg per slice.
CRAB AND CORN CHOWDER
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 red potatoes, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 small red peppers, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 quart fat-free milk
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- 8 oz crab meat
- Heat oil and butter and add potatoes, celery and peppers. Add bay leaf.
- Saute veggies for about five minutes and then sprinkle in the flour.
- Cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously, and then add in the broth and stir to combine.
- Add in the milk, stir to combine, and then bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, boil one minute more. (Stir occasionally throughout the process).
- Add in corn and crab, and simmer for five minutes. For a thicker soup, let the soup continue to simmer until it has reduced by about a quarter.
Makes: 12 1-cup servings
Nutrition: 170 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 10 g protein
HOMEMADE TURKEY AVOCADO TOMATO SANDWICH
- 2 slices thin bread
- 3 oz oven-roasted turkey breast
- ¼ avacoado, sliced
- 3 (or more) slices of tomato
- Top bread with sliced turkey, avocado and tomato.
Nutrition: 280 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 30 g protein
HOMDEMADE FLATBREAD PIZZA
- Flat bread (try Flatout Light flat bread)
- 1 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Cooked broccoli (bite size pieces)
- Spread out flat bread on a baking sheet. Top with olive oil and garlic powder.
- Top with shredded cheese and broccoli.
- Bake at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted.
Nutrition: 250 calories, 13 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 19 g protein
HOMEMADE CHICKEN FINGERS
- 1 lb boneless.skinless chicken tenders
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 egg whites
- Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place whipped egg whites in a dish and bread crumbs in a separate dish.
- Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and warm over medium heat.
- Dip the chicken fingers into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs.
- Place in the skillet and cook about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Serve with barbeque dipping sauce.
Nutrition: 130 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 21 g protein
All recipes are from The Skinny Rules by Molly Morgan, RD.