A Shower of Salt--Who Knew?

 My husband really enjoyed grilling this weekend.  As I watched him salt the home-made baked tortilla chips, it occurred to me that I need to mention another problem we can have at the BBQ: a shower of salt!  Americans are consuming a whopping 3300 - 4200 mg. of sodium each day, which could be increasing our risk of heart attack and stroke ("Shake the Salt," blog, 2/1/10.) The American Heart Association is urging to get us to keep that under 2300 mg or 1500 if you have high blood pressure. As you get ready for your next BBQ, be aware of the sodium lurking in some of your favorite foods.

Picnickers beware!  BBQ food can be loaded with salt.  Take a look...

Sodium In BBQ Food
  • Brat, 1 link                     700 mg          (280 calories) 
  • Potato Salad, 1/2 cup      650               (175)
  • Hot dog                          640               (170)
  • Baked beans, 1/2 cup     530               (190)
  • Brownie, 1 large             480               (300)
  • Cole slaw, 1/2 cup          450               (170)
  • Cherry pie, 1 slice           340               (480)
  • Chip dip, 2 tbsp.             230                (50)
  • Bun, hot dog or burger   200               (120)
  • Potato chips, 20 chips    180                (150)
  • Chicken breast, 3 oz.      145               (140)
  • Hamburger patty, 4 oz.    60                (310)
  • Watermelon, 1 cup           25                (45)
  • Baby carrots, 8                 6                  (25)
  • Strawberries, 1 cup           2                  (45)
  • Beer, light, 12 oz.             0                 (100)
 After eating the hot dog, potato chips, dip and baked beans this weekend, did you notice your hands and face a bit more puffy than usual when you woke up the next morning?  Some of us are more sodium sensitive than others. You may have been retaining water due to the sodium shower you doused your body in the day before.   Moderation may be recommended for the next BBQ!  

Knowing what's higher in sodium and what the bargains are is the first step.  Then, the key is to balance out your choices.  If you choose one or two high sodium foods, keep the servings small, and load up on low sodium foods for the rest of the meal.   If you want to have the potato salad, you may want to stay with the grilled burger or chicken and have a side of watermelon.   Also, remember that packaged and bottled foods and sauces tend to be loaded with sodium,  so if you can, steer away from these. One big exception is salsa--a low calorie, low sodium, high nutrient density, delicious bargain!  The hard part is finding some unsalted baked corn chips or some fresh veggies to dip in! Be sure to drink plenty of extra water, too.  This helps flush out the excess sodium, and helps your body with cooling on those hot summer picnic cays.

Moral of today's story:  stay smart at that BBQ and you won' t get caught in a downpour of salt!
To your health!