Is it possible to eat out and not consume too much sodium?
In case you missed my last two articles on sodium, here is what we covered:
What’s the Link Between Salt (Sodium) and Cancer Risk?
Practical Tips to Reduce Salt Intake Plus a Quick & Easy Recipe!
As I continue to do reading and research on the sodium issue, I am amazed by the information and how much salt is used in the food production industry. Trust me, you would never make food with that much salt!
Of course, you can get plenty of sodium at home, but as I talked about in the last posts, the average American eats 3400 mg of sodium each day and most of it is not from the salt shaker. The current recommendation is for no more than 2300mg per day and no more than 1500mg if you are over 50 years old, African American or have kidney disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Check out the sodium content of these restaurant items. (Excerpted from Dr. Jo’s upcoming “Eat Out Healthy” book, coming May 2011.)
- Olive Garden Garden Fresh salad – just one serving = 1930mg
- Arby’s medium Homestyle Fries = 1360mg
- Wendy’s Sweet & Spicy Asian Boneless Wings = 2490mg
- Quizno’s Baja Chicken Signature Sub, regular size = 2090mg
- Steak ‘N Shake Chili Deluxe, bowl = 2560mg
- KFC – 1 biscuit = 530mg
- Subway 6″ Turkey Sub w/American cheese and light mayo = 1220mg
- Applebee’s Sizzling Skillet Fajitas (choose from chicken, steak, or shrimp) = 6040-6800mg
- Burger King BK Veggie Burger = 1030mg
- Chili’s Brownie Sundae = 930mg
- Chipotle fully loaded Burrito with Carnitas = 2410mg
- McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad w/grilled chicken and 1 pkg Newman’s Own Low Fat salad dressings = 1690mg
- Red Lobster Grilled Lobster, Shrimp & Scallops = 3220mg
- Panera’s bowl Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean soup = 1590mg
- Taco Bell Grilled Stuft Burrito, chicken = 1980mg
For even more lists of sodium in restaurant foods, check out the list from Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://www.cspinet.org/salt/hsrestaurant.html
Salads are Healthy, Right?
You would think you are eating something healthy when you get the salad at Olive Garden. But just that one little serving gives you more than the recommended 1500mg for the WHOLE DAY!
Same thing with the grilled chicken salad from McDonald’s at 1690. And then my dad asked about Panera’s Greek Salad. Also 1690! Wow – so much for thinking that the salads are the healthy choice.
Want to know about your favorite restaurant dish? Check their website for nutrition information (will probably be there if it’s a chain restaurant), or ask them if they have nutrition information available when you’re there next. At least they will know that it is something you are concerned about.
Next time we’ll look at sodium in packaged grocery foods!
I had to comment because I’ve proved this is true! I stopped eating anything processed (not really a restaruant eater so it didn’t apply) but that was the “healthy” frozen dinners, morning frozen biscuits, hot pockets, entrees, canned soups, pastries, cookies, chips, etc. I made EVERYTHING from scratch and that includes making batches and freezing portions for during the. Just YESTERDAY my blood pressure was 112/68!!! I used to run 140/75! So, salt makes a BIG difference and now I realize that the salt sprinkles on my plate from home made food is NOTHING compared to the salt in a packaged food.
Wow, how crazy about the salads! I’ve been feeling like I add a lot more salt to my food than I used to, I think all of the convenience and restaurant food got me addicted! Your post is definitely good motivation to cook at home!
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN says
thanks for the good feedback on how cutting sodium can make a difference! That’s pretty amazing the change in BP! it’s not easy to cook at home, but definitely worth it. And i find that cooking large quantities and freezing is actually a HUGE time saver without sacrificing the nutrition.
Sabine Walter says
My husband and I have cut down on our salt consumption since he had a stent put in a couple of years ago. I fix home cooked meals and no processed food, and we both feel better. But almost every recipe I find online–whether Epicurious or myfitnesspal–they all add way to much salt for our taste now. And the same goes for restaurant food. That tells me, that the overconsumption of salt must be a learned habit. What do you think?