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10 Tasty Switches for Your Favorite Salty Foods

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WebMD Feature

Many foods and drinks have too much salt in them before you even reach for your salt shaker. Cutting back will help your blood pressure.

Try subbing one of these foods for your favorite salty temptations.

1. Pretzels

Pretzels are naturally low in fat, and some are made with whole wheat. But you can get a lot of sodium from them, especially if you don’t stop at a 1-ounce serving.

Change to: Choose a larger-sized pretzel with whole wheat flour as the first ingredient and about 3 grams of fiber per ounce. The added fiber will help make a 1-ounce serving more satisfying.

Also, rub away some of the salt that's on the outside of the pretzels with your fingers before you eat them.

2. Pasta Sauce

Canned or bottled pasta sauces are convenient, but many are very high in sodium, often with more than 600 milligrams of sodium per 1/2 cup serving.

Change to: Make your own with a blender and vine-ripened tomatoes. Add onions, garlic, basil, oregano, black pepper, and olive oil to taste. If you add salt, add the least amount that will work for you (try 1/4 teaspoon salt for 4 cups of chopped tomatoes). Heat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat for about 10 minutes. This cuts the sodium to about 160 milligrams per serving.

3. Instant Noodles

Instant noodle soup cups or packages are easy, inexpensive, and taste pretty good. But one serving will deliver about 750-950 milligrams of sodium (depending on the brand and the flavor).

Change to: Cut the sodium almost in half by adding just half of the seasoning powder. It will taste just as good, but the sodium will fall to about 450 milligrams.

4. Mixed Nuts

Nuts are a smart snack, giving you "good" fats, fiber, and protein. Naturally, nuts have almost no sodium, but nut mixes often have added salt, so check the label.

Change to: Choose “lightly salted” or “unsalted” nuts. The lightly salted options have about 55 milligrams of sodium and the unsalted nuts add zero. Make your own mixed nuts by combining your choice of unsalted nuts.

5. Spicy Chicken Tenders

One order (three pieces) of spicy chicken tenders from a fast-food chain or restaurant can add more than 2,100 milligrams of sodium.

Change to: Make your own spicy chicken fingers at home. Use spicy seasoning blends that don't include salt to flavor to your breading. If you add salt, use as little as possible (1/2 teaspoon salt for 2 or more servings of chicken fingers).

6. Tortilla Chips

Most tortilla chips are dusted with salt, totaling at least 250 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving.

Change to: Make oven-baked tortilla chips at home. Here's how:

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Coat a nonstick jelly roll pan with canola cooking spray. Cut corn tortillas into wedges (8 wedges from one tortilla). Brush the tortilla wedges lightly with canola oil. Sprinkle a controlled amount of seasoned salt (1/4 teaspoon adds 450 milligrams sodium) over the top. Bake until crispy, checking them after 15 minutes.

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