Ten Ways to Reduce Your Salt Intake
Good news: Keeping your salt intake in check is simple!
Avoid these ten foods—all of which have earned their spots in the Salty Foods Hall of Shame—by reading the nutritional information on packaging to avoid potential health issues. When it comes to salt intake, like most things, moderation is key.
1. Canned or bottled pasta sauces
These pour-and-serve sauces are undeniably convenient, but a whole can typically contains double the recommended daily intake of sodium. Depending on your portion size, this can break the sodium bank.
2. Instant noodles
These just-add-water soup cups can fill the void in a pinch, but keep in mind that one serving packs around 850 mgs of sodium.
3. Deli meats
Processed cold cuts are cured, often with salt, so you know where this is going. A 60-gram serving can contain as much as 600 mg of you-know-what.
4. Bottled salad dressing
You’re safe with salads, right? Unfortunately, some store-bought dressings deliver as much as 400 mg of sodium per two tablespoon serving, so check the label before buying it. Also, this is an easy one to make at home with your own oil and vinegar.
5. French fries
Switching to salad—with a low-sodium dressing, of course—is a no-brainer. Even a modest side order of fries contains at least 250 mg of sodium (and a boatload of fat).
6. Fast-food burger or sandwich
Most hamburgers and subs, with nothing on the side, contain more sodium than you should consume in an entire day. And if you opt to add a side to that—like fries or chips—you’ll get close to eating two days’ worth of sodium in one meal.
One slice of pork bacon contains around 200 mg of sodium, so if you consume four slices, do the math: that’s more than half the recommended daily intake.
Bacon or sausage with your eggs? How about neither: One link of smoked pork sausage contains 562 milligrams of sodium. Have you ever seen a breakfast plate with a single sausage? Three of them will max out your daily sodium allotment.
9. Chicken strips
Three pieces of this breaded, deep-fried, kids-menu staple contain a whopping 2,100 mg of sodium. And that dipping sauce? Two tablespoons add another 200 grams to the salty scene.
10. Snack foods
Even seemingly healthy snacks spell trouble when salt, or high-sodium seasonings, are added. For example, pretzels are naturally low in fat, but 100 grams of them, a fairly modest serving, contains 1,266 mg of sodium. Salted potato chips are higher in fat but lower in sodium. Not low enough, however: 480 mg per 100 grams still gets them into the Hall of Shame.
When your body tells you it needs salt, it may actually need it (and the other minerals missing). Or you may be bored and simply looking for that taste sensation to feel better.
Ask yourself if you need a bit of salt, and add a small amount of unrefined salt in water and drink it. Does the craving go away?
If yes, your body needed additional salt. If it did not ease off, you are craving the sensation that the highly salted foods deliver via your tongue receptors to your brain.
Here is where the hidden need or emotion tugging at the back of your awareness resides. Put the chips back in the cupboard (or in the trash), go for a walk, and listen to what your mind is trying to tell you.
I like to quote James Clear here from his book Atomic Habits:
“Every decision is an emotional decision at some level. Whatever your logical reasons are for taking action, you only feel compelled to act on them because of emotion.”
Being healthy and really enjoying life is not complicated. It is my hope that you are able to do this one simple step at a time until one day you look in the mirror and realize you are perfect and living the life you have always wanted.
Cameron Moffatt DOMP