2/28/2011:

How often do you grab for the salt shaker in Hoboken?

By Leslie Goldstein, RD

Sodium in salt is a main cause of high blood pressure, which may result in heart attack and stroke (2 of the nation’s leading causes of death), in addition to costing billions in U.S. health care payments.

On January 31, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; the new recommended intake for sodium for adults is 2300 mg per day, or 1 teaspoon of salt. For those who are 51 and older, African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the recommendation is lowered to 1,500 mg (this includes nearly half of the U.S. population).

Minimal sodium in Americans’ diets is from salt shakers- majority is added to foods (see below for a list of sodium in Hoboken restaurants!)

  • You can do your part by monitoring not only your use of the salt shaker but the amount of processed foods that you consume as well. In many restaurants we are unaware of how much salt goes into our foods, so if you are eating out a lot, be wary of the foods you are bringing into your home to control sodium. Learning to read food labels will help!!! Compare products for less sodium using the labels. Each label includes on the right side a “daily values” section. Find foods that have less than 5% daily value of sodium per serving.

Foods with high sodium: canned foods, deli meats, bread, muffins, sauces/gravies/salad dressings, & processed/packaged snacks (pretzels, chips). In a restaurant, always ask for sauces on the side so that you can use sparingly a more appropriate amount (compared to your food being drenched in sauce!)

Ways to reduce salt intake:

  • Try to not salt your food. Add minimal while cooking. Use herbs or spices to season food. Try experimenting with thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, herbs de Provence or lemon/orange zest. Salt is an acquired taste. Eventually your taste buds will become used to the taste of food without salt. Try to enjoy the natural flavors of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. 411 tip: Always taste your food first before salting automatically!
  • Try salt substitutes such as Mrs. Dash
  • Look for packaged products that say “no added salt”
  • Use more fresh or frozen foods when possible rather than canned
  • If using cans drain the products in water to eliminate some of the sodium

Salty Hoboken Foods

Think you’re consuming a low sodium diet? Here are some numbers to rack your brain around using the chain restaurants in Hoboken. Most of them have almost as much or more than the recommended daily amount of sodium per day!!!

  • Dunkin’ Donuts – Bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel: 510 calories, 1330 mg sodium
  • McDonalds – Big Mac with large fries: 1125 calories, 1480 mg sodium
  • Panera Bread – Chicken sandwich on French bread: 1030 calories, 2540 mg sodium; Asian Chicken salad: 420 calories, 900 mg sodium
  • Subway – 6 inch Cold Cut Combo: 410 calories, 1530 mg sodium
  • And if you like chain restaurants in the area, a Chipotle Burrito with chicken, beans, rice and salsa is 800 calories, 2240 mg sodium

So, in honor of February being National Heart month-try cooking at home to reduce your intake of sodium and your risk of heart disease.

About Leslie Goldstein, RD

Leslie Goldstein is a Registered Dietitian (RD) practicing in North Bergen and Hoboken, New Jersey. Leslie is an avid exerciser who combines her nutrition knowledge and passion with motivational support in counseling to help her clients make lifestyle changes. Leslie specializes in weight management, general wellness, Diabetes, bariatric surgery, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Leslie accepts most major insurances. 8100 Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen, NJ 07047 Ph: 201-378-3287 Email: LeslieGoldsteinRD@gmail.com