Healthy Tip: How to Avoid Excess Salt

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By Heather Butscher, MS, RD, LD
Outpatient Clinical Dietitian
University Hospitals Health System

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, adult Americans in 2012 consume double the amount of salt and sodium recommended – much of this can be blamed on eating “faster food choices”. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans reduce salt and sodium intake to less then 2,300 milligrams (mg), and further reduce intake to less then 1,500 mg among persons who are: 51 and older, those of any age who are African American, have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. USDA recommends preparing (from scratch) more meals at home where there is more control to use little or no salt seasonings.

If going out to eat, watching sodium is imperative.

Individuals should use the following strategies when dining out:

  • Ask how foods are prepared and request that meal be prepared without added salt, MSG, or salt-containing ingredients.
  • Use alternative low sodium spices to add flavor – pepper, oregano, curry or crushed red pepper.
  • Know the terms that indicate high sodium foods such as pickled, cured, soy sauce, and broth.
  • Move the salt shaker away.
  • Limit condiments, such as mustard, catsup, pickles, and sauces with salt-containing ingredients.

These tactics can really help to reduce the amount of sodium consumed when dining out.

Eating away from home can be healthy. Strive to include measures that help to reduce salt and sodium by selecting lower sodium foods and limiting added salt. So become a savvy diner and you can still enjoy dining out; most importantly, you will also be able to enjoy your good health.

University Hospitals, one of the nation’s leading health care systems, has partnered with ERC to offer significant discounts to its members.