A lot of attention is given to fat, cholesterol, partially hydrogenated foods and high fructose corn syrup. I believe the most overlooked food content item, especially amongst young families, is sodium.
Many older Americans must watch their sodium because of creeping high blood pressure, kidney disease or other health concerns. But many young children don’t have a specific health reason for which to monitor sodium, but there is ample reason to be vigilant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, only 11 percent of sodium consumption comes from salting food on your plate. An overwhelming 77 percent comes from pre-packaged and processed foods and the remaining 12 percent comes from natural sources.
Since packaged foods are a part of most family’s eating routine, here are a few tips to help reduce sodium consumption:
*Rely on frozen or fresh vegetables and fruits rather than canned. However, if you must use canned fruits and vegetables, be sure to pour the contents in a strainer and rinse them well with water. This can remove up to 30% of sodium. Double bonus: by using less canned food items, you are also reducing your exposure to BPA.
*Do not use salt when boiling pasta or other items such as vegetables. It is usually unnecessary and if the finished product needs a dash of salt, you can add it at the table.
*Remember hidden source of salt, such as disodium phosphate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and others.
*Buy reduced sodium products whenever possible, but remember even “reduced” sodium products can still contain a good bit of salt.
*Here are some frequently consumed foods that have high sodium:
Jarred cooking sauces (like spaghetti sauce, etc)
Macaroni and Cheese
Prepackaged rice and pasta mixes
Chips, pretzels, packaged snacks
Salad Dressings and Marinades
So today’s Tuesday’s Tip is to keep your salt in check!