You know the deal; when it comes to nutrition, many believe salt is basically the root of all evil. It bloats you, is bad for your heart, and makes it harder to lose weight. The CDC recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, and most health conscious people make it a point to avoid the most obvious salty offenders like chips, French fries, pretzels, and all things fried to an unnatural golden hue.
But what you might not realize is that some foods that don’t necessarily taste all that salty are still loaded with huge amounts of sodium. Here’s a look at some of these secret offenders, and a few healthier choices to pile on your plate instead:
Cured Meats— When it comes time to pile some delicious snackage onto toasted bread for a big game worthy sandwich, you may think that everything at the deli counter is pretty much created equally. Not so. Five to six thin slices of salami or mortadella boast a whopping 1,200 mg of salt. That’s before adding a single other ingredient! Instead, stick with shaved honey ham or turkey breast, which will keep your hero heroic with less than half the amount of sodium.
Cheeseburgers – Ok, so it comes as no huge surprise that fast food burgers pack a huge sodium punch at upwards of 4,000 mg a piece after the bun, cheese, and secret sauce have been added. But what is a bit shocking is that you can cut out roughly 75% of that salt by grilling up some burgers at home. Creating homemade cheeseburgers means you aren’t ingesting the added salt and preservatives added by food manufacturers.
Parmesan Cheese – Oh glorious cheese god of all things Italian, why do you tease us so? 850 mg of sodium are squished into 10 tablespoons of the parm that you sprinkle over your Sunday night spaghetti. Go with a low sodium version, or even better switch to sharp cheddar; it’s got about half the salt content.
Packaged Soups and Ramen – The staple of every poor college student, ramen noodles and canned soups can be very easy on your wallet. Unfortunately, they aren’t nearly as kind to your heart. One package can have as much as 2,000 mg of sodium. If easy and inexpensive are your main priorities when it comes to your dinner menu, try boiling some pasta and topping with fresh sauce instead. Or make a big pot of soup from low sodium chicken broth and leftover chicken and vegetables. You can freeze portions for later; still saving cash and time, without sacrificing your ticker in the process.