Eat Right with Rouses

How to Choose Lower Sodium Options at the Grocery Store

  1. Read Labels – Looking at the sodium content on the label will help you decide if the item is worth the sodium content. Look at the serving size first, then look at the sodium. On average, you want to shoot for 500 mg or less of sodium per MEAL – ideally 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day on average. So if you are adding a sauce that contains 300 mg of sodium per Tablespoon, you may want to reconsider so that you don’t use all of your sodium allowance at one meal. Check with your doctor to see how much sodium you should have per day.
  2. Look at the ingredients – If the first or second ingredient is salt, chances are, that you will want to stay clear of it.
  3. Avoid processed meat – Meats that are cured, brined, or highly processed are sources of higher sodium levels. Sodium is often added as a preservative and used in abundance in meats such as ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, bologna, and lunch meat. Choose more fresh meats and season yourself.
  4. Look for No Added Salt Canned Goods – Although many vegetables are canned at its peak freshness, many canned items contain high amounts of sodium per serving. Choose more fresh and frozen veggies. With frozen veggies, avoid the veggies that are packaged in sauces which can be a source of sodium.
  5. Salt Free Seasonings – Often times salt can be the most abundant ingredient in seasonings. Look for seasonings that do not contain salt, for example, Paul Prudhomme’s Salt Free Sugar Free seasonings, No Salt Tony’s Cacheres, and Mrs. Dash. Make your own season mixes by getting plain seasonings – you will create more and have a healthier choice. I recommend keeping the following in your pantry – garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, Italian salt free seasoning, and basil leaves.
  6. Avoid frozen “TV” dinners as much as possible – there are a few options for lower sodium frozen dinners, but not many. See our Eat Right Grocery list for options.
  7. Snacks can sneak up – Be careful with snack items, especially if it is a packaged snack. Packaged snacks can often have high amounts of sodium. This is where your label reading comes in handy.