Did you know that most Americans eat one and a half times more salt than the recommended limit for sodium each day? Excessive sodium intake is a serious health issue, and one that needs to be remedied. One of the biggest problems with high sodium intake is that the foods we eat already contain high levels of salt. Contrary to popular belief, it’s the sodium already in food that’s the bigger culprit, not the salt we add during cooking or at the table.
We all know processed meats, cheeses and restaurants foods contain tons of sodium. But some of the worst offenders for high sodium content may come as a surprise. We’ve put together a list of the high-sodium foods that may surprise you. Make sure you limit how much of these foods you consume or avoid them altogether to help protect your health.
Blended Coffee Drinks
Your iced coffee drink may taste sweet, but it’s actually packed with lots of sodium. One 16 oz. Coffee Frappuccino at Starbucks has a whopping 220 mg of sodium. Go for less complicated drinks with fewer ingredients, like a simple iced coffee with milk, to knock down your sodium intake.
Like blended coffee drinks, chocolate milk is another sweet treat that’s actually sodium-rich. The salt is there to preserve the shelf life of the product, but it’s bad for your health. Read labels to choose a healthier option or make your own chocolate milk at home with low-sodium products.
Many of the tomato sauces you find on the shelves may make great claims on their labels about their health benefits. Despite how good tomatoes are for you, these sauces also tend to have way too much sodium. Just ¼ cup of Hunt’s Canned Tomato Sauce has 410 mg of sodium. Look for no-salt-added version of your favorite brands to cut back on the sodium in your sauce.
Related: How A Low Sodium Diet Can Save You
Like tomato sauce, getting canned veggies seems like a healthy choice but can contain hidden high sodium levels. Just ½ cup of canned Green Giant green beans has 400 mg of sodium. If possible, pick up frozen veggies instead – Green Giant’s Fresh Steamers frozen green beans have 0 mg of sodium.
This breakfast treat may seem like a healthy option, especially if you make sure to get one without lots of sugar. However, many people overlook the fact that even some of the healthy cereals contain lots of sodium. For example, one cup of Fiber One’s Honey Clusters cereal contains 230 mg of sodium. There are low-sodium options available if you take time to read the label. Get this – Fiber One’s Frosted Shredded Wheat doesn’t contain any sodium at all!
You though the reason bagels weren’t the healthiest choice had to do with carbs, didn’t you? However, the typical plain bagel (no cream cheese and no flavoring) also has 500 mg of sodium. If you want some kind of bread for breakfast, grab and English muffin instead – it has just 180 mg of sodium.
These are often touted as a healthy snack option, but wheat crackers aren’t much better than potato chips when it comes to sodium content. One serving can have over 300 mg of sodium. Choose a low-sodium cracker for snacking instead.
Watch out for those prepackaged rice products and packets of rice seasoning. Both tend to be laden with tons of sodium. Some of the heat-and-eat rice products have over 700 mg of sodium per cup. It’s always healthier to make your own rice at home and season it with herbs and spices.
You’ve made a great healthy choice by getting a salad – don’t spoil it by adding a sodium-heavy dressing on top. Many salad dressings have over 150 mg of sodium in a single tablespoon. Make your own dressings at home for a healthier option, or read labels to find a low-sodium alternative.
Not many people realize, but instant noodles are terrible as far as nutritional value is concerned. In fact, many experts consider them junk food. But what’s so bad about them? For that answer, just take one look at the sodium on the package’s nutrition label. Many of these instant noodle cups and packages contain around 1,000mg of sodium! That’s almost an entire day’s worth in a measly little meal.
Start paying more attention to how much sodium is in your food and you’ll be doing great things for your health. And don’t forget to check the nutritional values of everything you eat – you may find that some of your favorites are also surprisingly high in sodium just like the foods listed above.