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How do you handle your sodium intake?



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DIDS70
Posts: 5,070
4/29/13 12:39 P

I don't add salt as a general rule. I don't even have table salt in the house. I use Pink Himalayan salt, kosher salt or sea salt if necessary. I use Braggs Amino Acids instead of Soy sause. Same flavor- absolutely no salt. I may also use tamari on certain occassions.

I would rather prepare my food with spices. Any increase in salt and my leg swells up.



OBIESMOM2
SparkPoints: (61,086)
Fitness Minutes: (40,069)
Posts: 4,472
4/29/13 11:52 A

when I do my own cooking, no sodium issues at all.

when I eat out (not often, but it does happen) or when I eat pre-packaged stuff (that happens a bit more often), sodium numbers creep up FAST.

if I know that I'm going to eat out, I do my best to make sure all of my other food is naturally low sodium (eat lots of fruits & veggies; meats that *I* cook). If I have Progresso soup for lunch, I need to cook my own dinner!

'no salt' doesn't mean no flavor. There are LOTS of great seasonings that don't have salt. Mrs. Dash has some great varieties. Fresh herbs are wonderful! I have a small container garden with basil, thyme, mint and parsley. TONS of flavor...no salt!



SBURDEN
Posts: 2,890
4/29/13 11:00 A

I don't monitor it at all, but probably should!



ZELDA13
SparkPoints: (32,613)
Fitness Minutes: (19,659)
Posts: 1,142
4/28/13 7:08 P

I seldom add salt when I cook or to my prepared food. Avoid fast food. Cheese seems to have a lot of sodium. You can get sodium free cottage cheese and also use that in place of ricotta. I get reduced sodium tuna and sodium free tomatoes and boullion. I try to keep my sodium around 1500. I avoid cold cuts and will instead bake a turkey breast or beef roast for dinner and use the leftovers for sandwiches or to top a salad. Prepared salad dressing seems to be high in sodium. I often substitute salsa which has less sodium as well as calories. It has taken a while to learn what the best thing is, and I still have a lot to learn. Good Luck... hope this helps.



NIRERIN
Posts: 11,766
4/28/13 3:15 P

the salt i have sitting on my counter has 440 sodium per 1/4 teaspoon, so a full teaspoon of the stuff would have 1760 sodium. as long as you stir it in at some point, the sodium content is going to be pretty consistent through the two cups of rice. and if it's not exactly that, it's going to be within about 20-30% of what you calculate it to be, which over time will balance out [because it's very unlikely that you're always going to get a salty portion or always get a less salty portion].
now as far as the rice goes, are you using dry rice [from the package] info or cooked rice [what's in the database] info for the two cups? that's going to be your bigger issue. because if you start with 2 dry cups, you need to be entering in the dry info and using that. also, you'll need to know your total end yield before you can figure out how much salt you'll get per portion.

finally, you don't need to salt your rice [unless you live in a high altitude climate and that's how you have to make your water boil or there is something else weird like that]. rice will cook up just fine without it. and this is especially true if you are serving the rice with something [like a curry or a stew or a stir fry] that gets seasoned and salted itself. the added bonus is that if you're serving one of those things then you can go heavier on the nonsalt seasonings so that you're getting more flavor and less salt.

with regards to other recipes, i find that entering in the recipe myself [with the milk i use, with the butter i use, with the rice i buy and so forth rather than the generic entries or the god knows what that the intern who figured out the math used] gets me an accurate number. when i have compared the foods i am actually using to what i find printed in a cookbook, i've found some huge differences. the butter i buy might be 10 cals less per Tablespoon than average, but when you use 9 servings in a recipe that adds up. and it makes an even bigger difference if the butter used to calculate the recipe info was 10 cals higher than average. the little brand differences add up in recipes. i had a favorite brand of orzo that they just stopped making. most orzo is about 200 cals for 1/3 cup, but this particular orzo ran 200 cals for 1/4 cup. there are tons of little regional differences out there and you really have no idea what you are getting otherwise.
when i have found that my entered recipes seem off, i go back and i double check. sometimes i will find that i managed to change the unit size [so i entered 2 cups of olive oil instead of 2 Tablespoons] or that i used an entry with numbers so off that they may as well be made up. other times i will take a look that my recipe calls for 16 servings of butter while only making nine servings of food, which means that in each serving of meal there are nearly two servings of butter and make sounds like "gah!' and start to see where i can adjust. for that particular recipe i found i can cut back to 4 Tablespoons of butter and the recipe will turn out just fine, meaning there is just a little less than half a serving of butter in each meal portion.

and sorry that i went off on non-sodium things, but the idea is the same. just make sure what you're using in your kitchen is the info that is going into the recipe, and it's going to be right on average. all the info that you use is an average and has to be within 20% of what's on the label. which means that even with natural variance, companies have an incentive to get it as close as possible to accurate. since it's statistically improbably that you're always going to get one of the extreme ends, that means that on average, you should be pretty accurate, which is what you're going for.



2009GETINLINE
SparkPoints: (15,134)
Fitness Minutes: (9,080)
Posts: 970
4/28/13 2:55 P

@PEN thanks I took a walk to the supermarket and ur correct goat cheese, mozzarella comes in slices had to look for it. SSSSO many yogurts to choose from FAGE seems to be the
budget friendly, protein w/o the carb sugar. thanx



PENAM87
Posts: 46
4/28/13 2:09 P

@2009getinline: I normally get a majority of my protein from lean meats/poultry. As for dairy, I stick with Greek yogurt (unflavored), Swiss, Mozzarella and Goat cheeses mostly because of flavor (it turns out they are relatively low is sodium!) and occasionally cream cheese.



PENAM87
Posts: 46
4/28/13 1:55 P

You see, this is my issue....when I cook a meal and use seasoning, it's hard to calculate exactly how much sodium I consumed in a portion of a meal. For example: when I cook 2 cups of white rice, I would normally add 1tsp of salt. So for a half cup portion of rice, basic math tells me that it would come up with 300mg of sodium which I find a bit hard to believe and of course research shows me that it's not correct.
I don't have a problem with labeled food as I monitor that pretty well and stick to purchasing foods with 140mg or less per serving. It's foods that I cook at home or when I try a recipe that I found and usually alter to my taste is what I have a hard time figuring out, especially since a majority of recipes don't normally give nutrition facts. I've tried the recipe calculator but even then some of those numbers seem out of whack to me...or maybe they are correct and I'm in denial.



PENAM87
Posts: 46
4/28/13 1:38 P

Thanks for the input everyone! I'm going to try to incorporate more fresh herbs onto my meats and cooked foods!



MOTHERBOARDER
SparkPoints: (109,868)
Fitness Minutes: (84,296)
Posts: 5,440
4/27/13 11:33 P

eat and cook fresh food and don't use salt



2009GETINLINE
SparkPoints: (15,134)
Fitness Minutes: (9,080)
Posts: 970
4/27/13 9:35 P

I don't use salt in my foods. All life has salt in it. Plants/meats, I do have to check on beans (dry) not canned. Beets is horrible for sodium, celery is also a runner-upper.

I'm trying to get fiber with less carbohydrate. Dairy for protein, Manganese, magnesium and iron is needed.

No soy, (ragweed) Birch, ,Adler to make it easier no vegetable/fruit which has tiny seeds. Berries are out as in the other berry~bananas. No gluten.

My journey isn't as hard as it sounds. Just a lot of finagling. I just found out to eat the stems on broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens. Cut in small pieces removing the outer skin, and to cook 10 minutes before adding the top portion to the vegetable.



PUDLECRAZY
Posts: 4,375
4/27/13 5:36 P

I rarely add salt to my cooking and don't eat chips or canned soup.



2009GETINLINE
SparkPoints: (15,134)
Fitness Minutes: (9,080)
Posts: 970
4/27/13 2:13 P

I'm learning this. I found out cottage cheese and cheese has a lot of salt. A LOT of salt.
I need a dairy/protein any suggestions?



JORDANIE25
SparkPoints: (8,086)
Fitness Minutes: (4,488)
Posts: 145
4/27/13 1:24 P

I try to make food as close to scratch as possible, i find that store bought jellys, sauces, dressings, etc are extreamly high in sodium. When i do that i easily stay within my limit of 500-2300 a day



VATRUCKER
SparkPoints: (20,629)
Fitness Minutes: (36,922)
Posts: 526
4/26/13 9:04 P

this is a major problem for me, but I try to keep it at 23-2500mg daily.



GRAMCRACKER46
SparkPoints: (25,849)
Fitness Minutes: (12,111)
Posts: 1,004
4/26/13 7:35 P

Buy fresh or frozen veggies and fruit. I rarely eat anything from a can except for diced tomatoes. I make my own soup with either homemade or low sodium broth. I admit it's easier for me as I am retired. My daughter told me I have no excuse now to not take care of myself.




ELOQUENTZ
SparkPoints: (6,824)
Fitness Minutes: (1,441)
Posts: 310
4/26/13 2:16 P

I do generally pretty well on my sodium levels. I generally don't eat much processed foods at all. Today, the only thing that I'll be eating that is more processed is the yogurt I had for lunch. For breakfast, bagel with cheese and coffee with cream. Lunch Homemade chili from scratch. Other than the canned tomatoes and beans, this was all from unprocessed foods. For dinner, pork chop and green beans. I use salt in my cooking and rarely salt my food at the table.



BUNNYKICKS
Posts: 2,272
4/26/13 2:05 P

Have you tried running the "full report" at the end of the day, to see just which foods your sodium is coming from? Mine usually comes in fine at under 2000, now and then though, it'll ring up at 3000, 4000, and i'll be like emoticon and when i run my report I'll discover that ohhhh seven dill pickles, maybe shouldn't have had quite that many...

Some days I just know the sodium will be high because I'm making something with soy sauce for example... and I just try to make sure that on the same day, I don't also eat pickles and processed foods as well. And I figure that as long as I can keep the overall "average" down, I don't mind too much if the odd day is over.

What I find most shocking is how the tiniest amounts of processed food have SUCH an impact. A couple of frozen buffalo chicken wings from costco - through the roof!





YOJULEZ
SparkPoints: (15,605)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
4/26/13 11:44 A

I struggle with it, and I don't eat much processed foods. But, I still like to salt my food. I stopped doing it and then my SO complained that everything I made was bland. I can usually still stay in the 2000's, but keeping under 2300 is hard.

I also agree w/ what NIRERIN said, read the labels and use those instead of the Spark generic entries. For example, I had been using the generic entry for tomato paste when building recipes. Then I noticed my sodium levels seemed high in those recipes. I looked, and the generic entry for tomato paste had it at about 260mg for 2tbsp. The brand I actually was using was significantly less than that, only 40mg.

One thing I'd look into is no salt spice/seasoning blends. There's a lot of them out there. I went to a spice shop they other day and they had a lot to choose from.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 4/26/2013 (11:45)


INDYTRACKMOM
Posts: 839
4/26/13 11:09 A

read label's, do not buy any thing over 600 mg per serving, (then I make sure I eat only 1 serving), avoid adding salt use herbs to substitute and add taste (either fresh -if on hand or dried)



CMCOLE
Posts: 2,667
4/26/13 7:20 A

Definitely be a label AND ingredient reader.

Even some sauces, seasonings (and, yes, spice mixtures) have added sodium.
I get the majority of my spices from SpiceSage, and mix my own combinations, with just the amount of salt that is needed (or none at all).

Processing adds salt. There's barely any escaping that.
Eating as whole as possible, as fresh (or fresh frozen) as possible is one way to eliminate the addition of not only salt, but a variety of other chemicals.

Do a search for seasonings you can make yourself. They taste so much better.
Fresh and dried herbs are your friends.



NIRERIN
Posts: 11,766
4/26/13 6:58 A

1. have you compared what you are tracking to what you have in front of you? sounds silly, but sometimes the more generic entries are averages and may have a very different amount than what you actually end up putting in your mouth. if you run the full report at the bottom of the tracker you can see the sodium in everything you eat in chart form so you don't have to select each individual item.

2. once you're sure that what your tracker is showing is correct, there are three ways to get less. i'd say to pick your three biggest sodium numbers and focus on making those three things lower. once you bring those down, pick the three biggest numbers again. this way you don't spend an eon at the grocery store and planning your meals every week. you just add an extra five or ten minutes and work your sodium down.
a. eat less of the food. if something has 1000 sodium and you only eat half a serving, that cuts you down to 500. even taking out a teaspoon, a Tablespoon, 1/8 cup or 1/4 cup of the higher numbers will add up.
b. buy a different brand or flavor. the next time you buy that item in the grocery store, spend some time reading labels and pick a different version of the same item. for example pasta sauce can run from 150 sodium to almost 1000. if you're buying one of the highest ones, all you need to do is pick a different one and that's all you need to change. picking a veg flavored sauce over a cheese flavor sauce seems to save 200 sodium per serving.
c. replace it with something else entirely. if you're buying lunchmeat, buy a chicken and roast it. if you were using soy sauce, try a rosemary garlic sauce instead.

as far as seasonings go, find some strong flavors you like [rosemary, garlic, cayenne, basil, this is where spices and herbs shine] and use those as the main force of your seasoning. then you can add a tiny bit of salt while still getting flavor because you already have a strong flavor in there.



JENNILACEY
SparkPoints: (72,679)
Fitness Minutes: (56,420)
Posts: 2,486
4/26/13 5:42 A

I try to avoid processed foods with added ingredients and commercial condiments for the most part and add my own spices and herbs, natural flavouring. 95% of my meals are cooked from scratch with raw ingredients so I can control the amount of sodium. That leaves me a good 5% of my daily intake for exceptions, which usually involves cheese of some sort; low fat cottage cheese, low fat cream cheese, low fat chedder, part-skim ricotta, part-skim mozzarella, parmesan etc

I use things like vinegars, herbs, spices, fruit (banana makes a perfect natural sweetener), Greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, oils, avocado, lemon, lime, real maple syrup, honey, natural nut butters (no salt added), startchy vegetables can make good flavouring like pumpkin, sweet potato, squash (for pancakes, pastas, baked goods).

When I do buy things like bread or canned beans, I choose a very low sodium variety or no salt added. I like the ingredient list to be short and to the point. If I buy a can of beans, tuna or anything in a can for the matter, I only want the ingredient list to include "beans" or "tuna" and "water".

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 4/26/2013 (05:46)


BALALOGANATHAN
SparkPoints: (4,707)
Fitness Minutes: (2,718)
Posts: 96
4/26/13 4:41 A

I avoid junk and any fried food items



PENAM87
Posts: 46
4/26/13 1:47 A

I'm doing pretty good as far as keeping within my daily intake recommendations, with the exception of my sodium! It gets frustrating at times because any little food can spike up my sodium intake within a single meal. I cut out junk food, fast food, any drinks that aren't brewed tea or water and heavily processed canned and frozen foods. I always check my labels/ portion sizes and am now to the point of avoiding seasoning my meats but I still manage to go over the 2300mg allotment!
Am I the only one on this struggle bus? Any suggestions on lowering my sodium but not sacrificing flavor (unseasoned chicken breast is no fun)? How do you manage your sodium intake?
Any info helps! I also welcome recipe suggestions :)



 
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