Diane Nassy, of Philzendia, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today.
My husband Philip suffers from high blood pressure. Because of this we have been working hard on trying to cut back on sodium. We started by cutting down the salt we used when cooking and ditched the salt shakers. Along the way, we realized that even though we were not adding additional salt to meals, some store bought, processed and prepackaged foods were harboring large amounts of hidden sodium that were derailing our carefully planned diet.
About three quarters of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. But not all processed food has too much sodium - it's important to check labels and watch for the salty 6.*
We had to be more diligent and started checking nutrition labels, especially when it came to snack foods. Eventually we cut down on the amount of pre-packaged snacks we were buying from the grocery store and started making our own. Try these delectable snack ideas for an easy and tasty energy boost without the health risks of excess sodium:
If You Like It Then You Should Have Put Some Kale Chips On It.
Kale chips are a great alternative to the super salty potato chip that no one can eat only one of. Kale bakes up perfectly crisp in the oven and offers a healthy alternative to this go-to crunchy snack... minus the unhealthy frying and salt of a traditional chip, of course. Don't believe the kale hype? Don't knock it until you try it on for size. In fact, countless celebrities have jumped on the kale train and even wear their kale-love right there on their shirts. Beyoncé rocketed kale tees to stardom when she began tweeting excessively about this simple, healthy snack and rocking a tee shirt printed with the word "KALE" across the front.
Let It Go, Let It Go... With Frozen Fruits
Anna and Elsa would have loved this low-sodium idea that elevates an already tasty treat. Fresh fruits can get a little boring after a while especially when you are on a limited diet. However, when sent to the freezer, you have an instantly refreshing escape from the ordinary. Bananas and berries are particularly delicious fresh from the freezer. Try fruits with a side of low-sodium graham crackers for a pie-like experience that never gets old.
Take Veggies in the Raw
Cooked plain or eaten raw, most veggies not only are naturally low in sodium, but they also come packed with antioxidants and vitamins which can further support a healthy lifestyle. If you are missing the added flavor in veggies, consider mixing in onions or garlic with green beans or potatoes. Certain veggie dips can also support a healthy diet. Finding new ways to add flavor can be an adventure if you let it.
Let's Get Roasted... With Chickpeas
Chickpeas can boost your energy for a long day on the go. When tossed in certain spices, chickpeas can also become a really unique kind of candy that is actually good for you. If you have never tried a chickpea... you are missing out. Get out from under that rock. The chickpeas are calling.
From restaurant dishes to processed foods, excessive sodium can hide in even the healthiest of packaging. However, when you take the time to educate yourself about the hidden salt in some of your favorite foods, you can find new ways to love the foods that you cannot live without... in a way that will ultimately help you live a longer, happier and healthier life.
*Source: Mattes, R. D., and D.Donnelly. 1991. Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 10(4):383¬393.
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