The average American eats too much sodium. Eating too much sodium raises blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. Both meeting planners and caterers can work to reduce the sodium content of meals.
The Healthy Nutrition Guidelines for sodium are:
- 360mg of sodium or less per snack item.
- 480mg of sodium or less per individual food item as served.
- 900mg of sodium or less per meal.
Tips for Choosing Lower Sodium Options
- Choose packaged products with no more than 10% of daily value of sodium per serving listed on their food label.
- Offer fresh vegetables rather than canned. If offering frozen vegetables, read the label to make sure they do not contain salt.
- Ask your caterer to prepare soups, salad dressings, dips, and meat marinades from scratch to control sodium content.
- Offer lower sodium dairy products in 1 oz. serving sizes, and freshly roasted and cooked meats and fish rather than salted, cured, deli, or smoked meats and fish.
Tips for Delicious and Healthy Lower Sodium Cooking
- When making salad dressings, soups, sauces, or marinades, use no more than 3/4 teaspoon of salt or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce in every 10-portion batch.
- Try using intensely-flavored herbs, spices, low-sodium liquids, and salt-free seasonings, such as vinegar, lemon juice, wine, and fruit juices.
- Drain the liquid from and rinse canned foods.
- Use oil or unsalted butter instead of salted butter when possible.
- Be aware that baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium nitrate, and nitrite all contain sodium.
- Roasted, grilled, broiled, baked, poached or steamed meats and fish are much lower in sodium than salted, cured, deli, or smoked meats and fish.
- Make sauces, dressings, soups, and condiments from scratch if possible, and serve dressings, sauces, and condiments on the side.
- Be creative by adding low-sodium whole foods to processed products. For example, add diced fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes with no salt added to canned tomato sauce or dilute low-sodium soy sauce with vinegar at a 1:1 ratio.