LIVE YOUR HEALTH
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
The Shakedown on the Salt Shaker: Tips to Reduce Sodium Intake
Put down the salt shaker! This is not new advice, yet the Mayo Clinic reports that the average American consumes about 3,400mg of sodium each day. This amount vastly exceeds the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends limiting sodium to 2,300mg per day.
If we know we should cut down on salt, why is our average daily sodium intake so high? Even without adding any salt during cooking or at the table, there is often sodium lurking in our food. Packaged, processed and prepared foods are major sources of sodium in the American diet. These foods are high in salt or contain additives that are high in sodium. Examples include bagels, breads, pizza, bacon, cold cuts, condiments, sauces, soups, fast foods, prepared frozen meals, packaged/boxed meals, cheese, bakery items and snack foods. Even foods that do not taste salty may contain a significant amount of sodium.
Arm yourself with the Nutrition Facts label from any packaged food, and you can be a savvy shopper. Check the serving size of the product and how many servings are in the package. The number listed for sodium content is the amount of sodium in one serving of that food. Try to pick foods that contain 200mg or less of sodium per serving.
Picking products that state “reduced sodium” or “no added salt” is not a guarantee that you are picking a low-sodium product. “Reduced sodium” simply means the product has less sodium than the regular version of the food. “No added salt” means extra salt was not added, but the ingredients may still be high in sodium.
At Meals On Wheels of Northampton County, trained chefs who make the freshly prepared meals in-house never add salt during cooking, and most sauces, dressings and marinades are made in house from herbs, spices and salt-free ingredients. Reduced-sodium versions of cured meats, cold cuts and cheeses are used. Furthermore, our regulatory guidelines provide us with upper limits on the average daily sodium intake, which is averaged over one week.
Do yourself a favor and follow what Meals On Wheels chefs do – put down the salt shaker!
Hayley Daubert is a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist who consults with Meals On Wheels of Northampton County and other organizations. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.