Thanks to several of you for comments and your food product facts! Here are some that I received:
- My Season brand skinless and boneless imported sardines
110mg of sodium
2 servings per container
Julie’s Reply: These are actually a very healthy snack! Sardines are a good source of the healthy, omega-3 fats, and this brand does not overload them with sodium. You just have to get past the smell! They’re great with Triscuit crackers, the ‘hint of salt’ kind, of course!
- I’m very concerned about the amount of sodium in packaged foods, even those that ‘appear’ to be healthy. Sometimes because of hectic lives we end up purchasing packaged meals. I try to get the lower sodium type, but how can we as consumers get packaging companies to lower the sodium? What I think would be helpful is a list of companies and addresses/phone numbers of companies that consumers can contact and ask them to lower the sodium content. Is that something we can do? Thank you for this article.
Julie’s Reply: I agree about the concern over food companies. It would be GREAT if consumers would call the product lines and let them know your concerns over what they are putting in their products. The bottom line is that most food companies are out to make a profit, and they will sell you anything that you are willing to eat, whether it’s nutritious or not. So find the 800 number on your favorite snacks and call them. If it’s a low sodium snack that tastes good, call and thank them!
- Item of the day: Peanut M&Ms.
Serving size (1 pack!) 1.74Oz
Sodium: 25mg 1%
What a great low sodium snack!
Julie’s Reply: Well, these peanut m&m’s are technically low in sodium! I’m not sure that I would call them a healthy snack, but they’re ok as a sometimes snack! 🙂
- We tend to think food high in sodium will taste salty, but this is untrue.
Julie’s Reply: Again, this is another very good point! It’s hard to imagine that there would be so much sodium in something that doesn’t taste salty, but with baking soda and what companies use to preserve food, there can be a lot of sodium in a “non-salty” snack. Be sure to check your labels!
- Kirkland Roasted & Salted Cashews
Serving size (1 pack) 2 oz.
Sodium: 230mg 10%
Julie’s Reply: Although higher in sodium, these cashews are a healthier snack than the m&m’s. Technically, a serving of nuts is 1 ounce, so consuming half of this package would probably be the right amount. Combine it with a few raisins or dried tart cherries and you’d have a nice energy booster!
- Progresso Manhatten Clam Chowder
~600 mg per serving
2 servings per can
Julie’s Reply: Ok, first off, who is going to share a can!! Unless you added some extra veggies and milk to it, you’ll probably eat the whole can yourself, bringing you to 1200mg in just one small meal. This might be a better option than eating out (remember the Olive Garden salad?), but you definitely don’t want to make it a habit. I define a habit as something you do 3 times a week or more.
Grocery Shopping Tips:
Here are some articles that I’ve written in the past pertaining to healthy grocery shopping:
When it comes to choosing low sodium at the grocery store, here is my guideline:
Snacks: Sodium should be less than 350mg
Meals: Sodium should be less than 800mg
And hopefully you’re cooking things fresh at home to balance these out.
One other great way to balance out your sodium intake is to be physically active! The physical activity helps to sweat out some of the sodium that you take in. It also burns extra calories giving you more flexibility with food choices.
Must Do’s for Healthy Grocery Shopping:
- Make a List! With a grocery list in hand, you won’t be as likely to make impulse purchases. Here’s a blank list you can use: Grocery List. Personally, I cross out dairy to have more room for fruits and veggies. I just combine meat and dairy in the same category.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits should make up the largest part of your grocery list and your cart. Choose a variety that everyone will enjoy.
- Choose whole grains, not refined grains. This part of your list includes whole-grain breads, whole-grain pastas, and whole-grain breakfast cereals. Read the ingredient list to make sure that you are getting 100% whole grain. Avoid products with ‘refined’ in the ingredient list. Also be cautious of grains that have lots of ingredients that you don’t recognize.
- Your protein and meat choices should consist mostly of legumes (dried or canned beans), nuts and seeds. Fish, poultry, lean meats and eggs are also good protein choices.
- Beverages should be kept simple. Water, low-fat milk, 100% juices, seltzer water and herbal teas are all good choices.
- Dairy products should include low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Be careful with dressings, cooking oils and condiments. They are sneaky sources of salt, sugar and poor quality oils. Read labels to choose dressings made with olive oil, canola oil or walnut oil.
- Frozen foods are a convenient way to keep vegetables on hand. Read labels and chose frozen foods wisely. Avoid frozen pizzas, pocket-sandwiches, deep-fried appetizers, and breaded foods.
- Foods in cans and jars are also very convenient. Look for low-sodium soups, vegetables and sauces. Avoid high-fat gravies and high-calorie foods like canned spaghetti and ravioli products.
- For sandwiches, choose peanut butter or other nut butters, low-fat turkey slices or sliced roast beef (choose deli slices fresh from the deli department, avoid the packaged ones that are loaded with sodium and preservatives). Avoid processed lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs.
[list adapted from http://nutrition.about.com/od/healthyshopping/a/groceryshoplist.htm]
Keep checking those food labels and when you see something interesting, let me k