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Dine Out, Watch the Sodium

Dining Out? Get quick tips to reduce the amount of sodium in your food when dining out.

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  • Americans eat on average about 3,300mg of sodium a day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend reducing sodium intake to less than 2,300mg per day (about 1 teaspoon of table salt). Adults with hypertension should further limit sodium to 1,500mg a day.
  • Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization, decreasing salt intake from 10g to 5g per day would reduce overall stroke rate by 23 percent and cardiovascular disease rate by 17 percent.

Speak Up

Never hesitate to ask your server to present sauces on the side, and request that no salt be added to your dish. In all likelihood, your food is already loaded with sodium from breading, marinating, curing, and so forth.

Cut the Salt

Instead of salt, try using other salt-free spices and seasonings. You won’t sacrifice taste, and by reducing salt, you will start enjoying the natural flavor of foods.

Dip It

Ask for sauces on the side so that you can dip your food instead of fishing for pieces from the dish. This step alone can reduce your sodium consumption by half, if not more!

Steam Up

Steamed options are usually—though not always—better than deep fried, braised, stir fried, or sautéed options.


Instead of this...

Try this!

Staple

 

Fried Rice
500 mg sodium/cup

 

Steamed Rice
6 mg sodium/cup
To make steamed rice even healthier, ask for whole-grain brown rice, which contains significantly more dietary fiber and vitamins than white rice.

Soup

 

Hot & Sour Soup
800 mg/cup

 

Seafood & Tofu Soup
300 mg/cup

Instead of ordering soup that is high in flavor but lacks nutrients, opt for one that’s loaded with protein and veggies. It will still taste good, but this is a much healthier choice. Remember to ask that no salt be added.

Appetizers

 

Egg Roll
380 mg/roll

 

Spring Roll
150 mg/roll

Appetizers with fresh ingredients with- out breading, frying, or marinating are always a better bet. Instead of drowning your food in sauce, dip it instead.

Vegtables

 

Szechuan String Beans
2700 mg/dish

 

Kailan in Oyster Sauce
1500 mg/dish

 

Bok Choy in Broth
800 mg/dish

 

 

Blanched Greens
20 mg/dish without dipping sauce

Choose veggies that are sautéed, steamed, or braised in broth rather than sauce—try Luffa or Baby bok choy in broth. Even better, fish out the veggies and don’t drink the broth.

Meat

 

Beef in Brown Sauce
1600 mg/dish

 

Stewed Beef Brisket w/ Tomato
900 mg/dish

Acidity and sweetness both enhance saltiness, which means less salt. There- fore, dishes with a generous amount of tomato or pineapple are good options. 

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