I am a Registered Dietitian (RD) with lots of experience in the food manufacturing industry (Kraft Foods and Campbell Soup Company to name two) and I want to continue to talk with you very directly about how to achieve a low sodium lifestyle so that you control kidney disease and hypertension.
So let’s start by talking about one of the most common sources of sodium and salt in the American diet. I realize that the common recommendation in the media is eating salads results in good health. This is only partially true since most people add heaping amounts of salad dressing to green salads and vegetables.
Keep An Eye On Serving Sizes
Salad dressing along with some of the pickled ingredients and toppings that are so common on salad bars are very high in sodium. As I have said before, one of the big issues is that not only are those toppings high in sodium, the serving sizes are very small. In comparison to the mg of sodium per serving, you are eating at least 2-4 servings of sodium without realizing it.
Reaching the goal of eating low sodium and low salt requires a bit of planning and thought whether eating at a salad bar or at home. At a salad bar or restaurant, you will have to ask for oil and vinegar which you add as a dressing to control the sodium. And if you must indulge in a prepared salad dressing for flavor, limit the serving to 1 teaspoon. In Ranch dressing, for example, there is 45 mg of sodium in that 1 teaspoon. Just remember to avoid the other high sodium toppings such as pickled beets, pickles, bacon, croutons, seeds and nuts.
A Low Sodium Salad Dressing Field Trip
At home, preparing salt free and low sodium salad dressing is very simple–especially with all of the oil and vinegar retail stores that are appearing in many local communities and on the Internet. My suggestion to my clients is to take a salad dressing field trip and taste the oils and vinegars that are in these stores. In all of the stores that I have visited, trying the different products is free so that you can find favorites without buying many different products.
This past weekend, I visited a store in West Jefferson, NC and tried pomegranate vinegar and a basil olive oil which combined to make a wonderfully flavorful addition to a simple salad of romaine, red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. To add even more flavor, you could also pick up or grow fresh herbs such as basil, dill, cilantro etc.