There’s the obvious salt sources, like crackers, chips, and pretzels, but there are also lots of foods swimming in bloat-causing sodium. On average people should consume less than 2300mg of sodium per day, so to keep you on track here are 13 sneaky sources of sodium
- Sauces – marinades, barbecue sauce, and dressings are shockingly salty, so not only will a homemade sauce taste better, but it’ll cut down on excessive sodium intake.
- Cottage cheese – a good source of calcium and protein, but 40% of your sodium intake in just 1 cup. Substitute for greek yogurt, or look for “no salt added” cottage cheese
- Cereal – this obviously isn’t true of ALL cereals, (after having a mini worry session and making sure my fav granola cereal has only 2% of my daily sodium) but it’s definitely something to keep in mind – especially when there are so many other great breakfast options like oatmeal, eggs, greek yogurt, and fruit.
4. Bagels – one plain bagel is almost 20% of your daily sodium intake. If you can’t beat your bagel craving, go for a bagel thin, or at least half a bagel just to keep your sodium in check.
5. Baked goods – Not that these are good sources of health in any case, but just another reason to steer clear of packaged baked goods since the sodium level is ramped up because of its preservative qualities.
6. Soup – I absolutely love soup, but the salt in them is shocking. I try to make my own soup as often as possible, or buy soups that are low in salt and then spice them up myself, a single bay leaf can be your best friend.
7. “Reduced-Sodium” foods – ok, whaaaaat? Well, this term means that the product has 25% less sodium than before, which is great, unless it originally had a gazillion mgs of sodium. Look instead for “low sodium” or “very low sodium” labels. Or just read the nutritional information. It takes about 5 seconds to figure out if this reduced-sodium product is a healthy choice.
8. Veggie burgers – no! It cannot be! Another item that had me running to my freezer. A lot of soy products use salt to enhance flavor, the average veggie burger has almost 400mg of sodium, AND that’s just the patty, not to mention the bun and whatever condiments you use.
9. Hot chocolate – a low calorie chocolate fix, but about 7% of your recommended daily sodium intake. I opt for chocolate teas instead, zero calories, zero sodium, all the taste.
10. Pancakes – With 2,000mg of sodium in diner pancakes, and 400-700mgs in ready to make pancake mixes, homemade pancakes are looking a lot more desirable. Fun fact, I didn’t know you could buy pancake mix until I was in college because we always made them from scratch in my house, it’s incredibly easy and there are tons of different pancake recipes you can try.
11. Frozen veggies in sauce – I didn’t even know this was a thing, but I guess pre-sauced vegetables a) exists and b) are super high in sodium. Opt for plain frozen or fresh vegetables instead.
12. Sandwiches – This is sort of a vague category since there are lots of kinds of sandwiches and several sandwich shops. To put it in perspective, a standard deli sandwich on white bread with meat, cheese, and a pickle all adds up to about 1000mg of sodium. Homemade sandwiches are a better option, or at least try for a lower sodium choice of meat or cheese.
13. Chicken breasts – stick to organic and look for “non-enhanced” on the label, as raw chicken breasts are sometimes injected with a high sodium injection in a process call “plumping.”
Bonus Tip: if you’re a fries-fiend, then try asking for fries without the salt next time you’re out. Not only will they have less sodium, it pretty much guarantees that you get the freshest fries.