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Low-Sodium Diet: How to Eat Less Sodium at Restaurants

On a low-sodium diet? Here are 10 tips to cut the sodium when you're eating out.

How to Follow a Low-Sodium Diet When Eating Out continued...

2.     Frequent locally-owned restaurants where most foods are cooked to order. It may be easier for such restaurants to accommodate requests for less salt.

3.     Skip the sauce on your entree, or ask that it be served on the side. For taste without all the sodium, just dip your fork into the sauce, then use it to spear your food. (This helps control calories and fat as well as sodium.)

4.     Pass on casseroles and stick to basic foods that are grilled, baked, or roasted.

5.     Salsa and ketchup may be low in calories and fat but high in sodium, so use them sparingly.

6.     Taste your food before salting and use the salt shaker sparingly.

7.     Bring along your own low-sodium spice mix, like Mrs. Dash, to flavor your food.

8.     Round out your meal with simply prepared fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium. Ask for steamed vegetables with no sauce, and use a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor.

9.     Go easy on the cheese, olives, deli meat, and croutons in your salad, and ask for salad dressings on the side.

10. Order sorbet or fruit for dessert.

Tips for Eating Low Sodium at Home

While this might not be the advice many of us are looking for, Krieger recommends eating out only once a week, for the sake of your wallet and your health.

 "When you eat out, you tend to eat more calories and have less control over the ingredients," she says. "So why not get back into the kitchen, preparing more fresh foods, fewer processed foods, and slash the sodium by using flavorful ingredients?"

A few of her favorite high-flavor, low sodium ingredients are roasted garlic, caramelized onion, fresh herbs, citrus, wine, fruit juices, and homemade chicken stock. 

She also makes it a point to buy seasonal produce.

"When fruits and vegetables are in peak season, they taste delicious without any additions, so taste the tomato before you automatically add the salt," Krieger says. "And whenever you do need salt, add it at the end of cooking so you can taste it."

Avoid buying processed foods at the grocery store, but when you do, check labels to select the ones that contain the least sodium. Foods likely to be highest in sodium include:

•         Canned foods (other than fruits)

•         Frozen entrees and pizzas

•         Frozen vegetables with sauces

•         Soups

•         Deli, cured, and processed meats (like ham, hot dogs, and sausages)

•         Crackers, chips, and nuts

•         Pickles

•         Instant puddings

•         Some breads, cookies, cakes and cereals

Reviewed on May 30, 2012

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