MS, RDN, CDN
Allison is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Fitness. She also loves helping families get creative with their wellness choices.
Getting enough sodium is critical to our health, as it helps to control blood pressure and blood volume, regulate our body’s water content, and assist muscle and nerve function. However, excessive intake of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension), which can be detrimental to cardiovascular health. Too much dietary sodium can also negatively impact bone health because excessive sodium increases the amount of calcium your body loses through urination.
The rise of ready-made, packaged,
processed, and shelf-stable foods has led to an overabundance of sodium
(derived mostly from salt) in the typical American diet. Salt has many aliases
(sodium chloride (salt), sodium benzoate, sodium phosphate) and manufacturers
add salt to maximize taste and flavor and to extend shelf life. Note that not
all salts are created equal. Iodized salt, for example, is a good thing (in the
correct quantity) especially during pregnancy as iodine is extremely important
for fetal brain development.
Here is a general list of foods
that have a high sodium content:
Canned foods (especially soups and broths), pickles, olives, or anything
packaged in a brine, anchovies, some breads, cheese, processed meats like
luncheon/deli meat, bacon, sausage and hot dogs, packaged spice blends,
pre-packaged or frozen meals, chips and packaged snack foods, salted nuts, some
cottage cheese varieties, store bought dressings, marinades, and sauces, like
BBQ sauce and soy sauce.
Cooking at home, or even simply
making your own soups, tomato sauces, and salad dressing will make a positive
impact towards controlling your sodium consumption and limiting your processed
food intake. Instead of salt to your foods experiment with adding dried spices
which can add flavor without adding sodium.
Choosing meals and snacks from
the below listed options will help you consume foods that will help you to keep
your sodium intake within the recommendations while adhering to a balanced
*Tip: look for chicken that does not have injected salt water or broth as stated on the label
For more on this topic, check out the following articles:
Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.