Shopping and cooking for a low sodium diet can seem challenging, here are some simple rules to make your life easier!
- Shop the outer rim of the grocery store, where items are fresh, and usually not boxed
- Fresh is Best!
- Plan meals and shopping lists ahead of time
- Cook from scratch
- If you must buy foods in boxes or cans choose those with less than 150 milligrams of sodium per serving
- Get into the habit of READING THE NUTRITION LABEL
Nutrition Lable Facts:
When living with kidney disease, it is important to monitor what amounts of certain substances go into your body. Nutrition labels are the main way to do this monitoring, thus it is important you understand how to properly review them.
- Serving Size – the uppermost portion of the nutrition label contains the recommended amount of the food to consume in one sitting as well as how many servings are in the entire package. The serving size is good for determining portion control. If you consume one serving of the food, then all of the following nutrients listed on the label, including calories, are consumed at that time as well. If you consume more than one serving, the nutrients increase. If you consume less than one servings, the nutrients decrease.
- Percent Daily Values (%DVs) – These are the key regulators for nutrients such as phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. When monitoring these, it is important to keep in mind two basic facts of %DVs: any substance with 5% or less is low in that particular serving, while any substance with 20% or more is high. Percent Daily Values are for the entire day, not just for one snack or meal. This means one would add the %DVs from every source of food they ate throughout the day to calculate how much of one substance they consumed. You should contact your nutritionist/dietician to see which foods are safe to eat as well as what %DV numbers to look for on a nutrition label.
- Fat – Total fat is broken down into saturated fat, unsaturated fat, trans fat, and monounsaturated fat. The two main types of fat to avoid are saturated and trans fat, for these have chemical structures that are not as easily broken down by the body as unsaturated fats are.
- Carbohydrates and Protein- If you’re told to limit your protein intake, carbs can provide the calories obtained by protein. Carbs are broken down into three major categories: sugars, starches, and fiber. Healthy sources of protein include low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, beans, lean meat, poultry, and eggs. Check with your nutritionist/dietician before making any changes to your diet.
- Ingredients- Every ingredient that goes into the particular package of food you’re looking at is required to be listed. Ingredients are listed in decreasing order by weight, meaning the first ingredient is present the most while the last ingredient is present the least.
Low Sodium Shopping Resources:
- Check out Healthy Heart Market. The site has over 500 low/no sodium products, including gluten free. Many of these items can be purchased at your local grocery store! This is a great resource to see what is available out there.
- Have you tried Penzeys Spices? They have 50 no salt spices which can be bought in store or online. Click here to find a location near you!
- Another seasoning option is Mrs. Dash seasonings, meal packets, and marinades. All Mrs. Dash items have 0 mg of sodium! Various items can be found in your local grocery store. Go to the website to see a complete list of products available.
- A good snack option is Nabisco: Hint of Salt Crackers. These alternative crackers include: Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Triscuits, and can be found in your local grocery store or online.