For Valentine’s Day, are you planning on cooking your loved one a fabulous meal, or surprising them with dinner out at their favorite restaurant? If so, make your meal an even healthier Valentine’s gift by choosing low-sodium ingredients and entrees.
Why does lower-sodium matter? High-sodium diets contribute to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
In its February edition of Vital Signs, the CDC gives recommendations for reducing sodium levels and provides information to help Americans make better food choices. According to the report, more than 90% of Americans eat more sodium than the recommended daily allowance, which is less than 2,300 mg per day. On average, we’re eating 3,300 mg per day — well above the dietary guidelines. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods. What this says is that with our busy schedules, many of us are choosing to eat quick-cook, processed foods or eating out. However, we can control our sodium intake if we prepare or eat meals that are lower in sodium.
The CDC says these 10 foods contain more than 40% of our sodium: breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats such as deli or packaged ham or turkey, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches such as cheeseburgers, cheese, pasta dishes, meat mixed dishes such as meat loaf with tomato sauce, and snacks such as chips, pretzels, and popcorn.
Whether you’re cooking a meal or eating out, show your Valentine how much you care by following these tips:
- Limit processed foods high in sodium
- Use ingredients low in sodium; check the labels for sodium levels per serving
- Prepare fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Request lower-sodium options on the menu