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How to Avoid Excessive Salt In Your Diet

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How to Avoid Excessive Salt In Your Diet

The best way to avoid excessive salt, sugar and fat is to read labels. The best way to avoid reading that fine print is to eat produce. That's right. The time that you have been taking to read all those labels is better spent preparing a meal with lots of fresh produce that have no labels. Now it becomes a choice between whether you should buy organic or not. Sometimes, as with my budget, you cannot afford to go organic. Or can you?

Maybe it is time to think about gardening. Those green leafy vegetables are pretty easy to grow. Sweet peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and many lettuces can handle the cooler climates of spring. Planting near shade reduces the amount of hot sun as temperatures increase. It is a great feeling to pick your own salad all summer long.

Just because the food processing industry and restaurants do not want to spend the money to flavor foods with nutritional spices and herbs, doesn't mean that you can't do it yourself. I stopped buying flavored canned beans, when I remembered I used to spice the plain ones myself. A little mustard, some cumin, paprika or Liquid Smoke and I am satisfied that I have prepared them the way I like, avoided additives and, as a bonus, saved a bit of money. Plain tomato sauce can be spiced the way you want, and it's usually cheaper than the spaghetti sauces in a jar.

If you are retired, that means that you should have more time to avoid salt and eat healthier. So there is no excuse not to try gardening or buying more fresh fruits and vegetables. Gardening is good exercise. Start small and see if you feel the wonder of little sprouts and green leaves peeking out of the ground.

Part of the problem is that we all eat out too much and don't know what we are eating. You can look up most chain restaurants online and see how much salt, sugar and fat are in their menu choices. According to the Center for Disease Control these ten foods are responsible for almost half of the sodium/salt that we consume. They are breads and rolls, cold cuts, cured or processed meats, pizza, fresh poultry, soups, cheese, spaghetti and other pasta dishes, meatloaf and meat dishes and, finally, snacks like potato chips and pretzels.

Canned soups are notoriously salty. Many have MSG or mono-SODIUM glutamate. Because of my husband's allergies, we gave up on canned soup ages ago. Avoiding sandwiches with salty bread, cheese and processed meats doesn't leave you with a lot of lunch choices other than salads or leftovers from last night's dinner. Making a large bean stew in a crockpot is great for lunches and filling, too.

Don't be confused by the math. Most people need about 2400 mg or 2.4 grams of salt each day, 1500 mg or 1.5 grams for the older crowd. One slice of bread can contain your daily allotment, so read those labels carefully. If you wrap two slices of bread around some processed meat and add cheese, no wonder your blood pressure is high. It doesn't matter if you never add salt when cooking at home. If you eat just one fast food sandwich a day, you have probably exceeded the salt you should have.

 


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