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low sodium diet how?

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Old 12-22-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default low sodium diet how?

I am just too busy to eat fresh food. But I would love to be on a low sodium diet. It is just not accessible to me with how busy my schedule is and frankly how lazy I am to prepare fresh food. I know right now I am eating well over the recomended sodium amount because all the food I eat is prepackaged. How do you do it?
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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Is it possible for you to prepare some fresh foods a few days in advance and keep them handy? Raw veggies, grapes, apple slices, some leftover pasta from last night's dinner, maybe a granola bar. That way you're preparing a couple times a week instead of every day. I know life gets crazy but you should always make the time for your health!
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #3
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How low-sodium are you aiming for? I track sodium on My Fitness Pal and usually stay around 1500-2000. I believe the USDA recommends 1500 for older folks and folks at risk for heart issues, 2500 for the rest of us.

My answer to your question is exactly what you expect (and probably don't want to hear!): I prepare my own food. For me it's not a task or chore to stop by the farmer's market twice a week. It is not a chore to make my own soups, salads, and casseroles. It's enjoyable. I love learning new recipes and making them while listening to podcasts or NPR or music. It's therapeutic. It allows me to connect with my food- cheesy, I know, but I think the huge distance between us in this day and age and our nourishment is the reason we default to packaged, processed, less nutrient-rich material with which to fuel ourselves. (It also has me standing up and moving around in the kitchen for an hour, which is better than slouching in front of the TV or computer!)

Preparing your own food doesn't have to take long. I have a bit more time now because I work from home, but even when I was working long hours in the office I would usually reserve Sunday as cooking day. I'd cook bran muffins to last me for breakfast through the week, clean vegetables and chop them to be ready to make into salads for lunch, and cook up a casserole, soup, and stir fry to alternate throughout the week for dinner.

I think the transition over to cooking one's own food takes time and can be a little daunting. But once you settle into a pattern, learn some quick recipes (chicken, soup, fish, curries, and stir fries take less than 30 minutes to prepare), where to get your favorite fresh fruits and veggies, it's easy, and you probably won't want to go back to packaged, frozen foods much

Good luck!
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:48 PM   #4
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I know it can be difficult to switch from eating a lot of convenience foods to preparing more of your food yourself. Maybe a good first step would be to swap some of your high sodium convenience foods for low sodium convenience foods that are still healthy and nutritious. I'm thinking things like pre-packaged apple slices, low-fat string cheese, low-sugar oatmeal, greek yogurt, pre-packaged veggie sticks, 100-calorie packs of almonds, etc. I realize these aren't replacements for a meal like dinner, but when I'm short on time I'll snack on these types of things through the morning and afternoon rather than having a larger breakfast or lunch (or I make a meal out of several of these quick foods). If you make some swaps with low-sodium foods like these, you won't do as much damage with a higher sodium dinner. Just a thought on a place you could start.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:49 AM   #5
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1. Some processed foods are lower in salt than others. Often supermarkets will have a range of "healthier" preprepared foods where the sodium, sugar and fat are lower. It's still not ideal, but it's an improvement. Check labels and make a note of which foods are better.

2. Cook your own foods in bulk and freeze portions.

3. I suspect that you're not an experienced cook, although forgive me if I'm wrong. Cooking your own meals from scratch doesn't have to be time-consuming. I can think of several pasta dishes I make where the sauce/accompaniment takes as long to cook as the pasta does to boil, and salads can be very quick indeed to throw together. It doesn't have to be labour-intensive or involve lots of fancy ingredients either.

I've got severe disabilities which make cooking very difficult for me, plus I often need to eat pretty much immediately due to blood sugar issues, and I'm managing on a combination of #2 (food prepared by support workers) and #3 (the rest of the time).
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:35 AM   #6
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I agree with the others: you should eventually start cooking. It doesn't have to be extravagant, just good, whole veggies and proteins.

After you start preparing your own dishes, you can substantially save on sodium if you avoid salting during the cooking process and just salt at the very end, when the food is already on your plate.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:55 PM   #7
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I am trying to stay under 2000 mg. Thanks everyone for your tips!
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esofia View Post
1. Some processed foods are lower in salt than others. Often supermarkets will have a range of "healthier" preprepared foods where the sodium, sugar and fat are lower. It's still not ideal, but it's an improvement. Check labels and make a note of which foods are better.
I keep low or no sodium canned foods on hand for times when I am super busy and have little time to cook. Frozen veggies and fruits are also free of added sodium. Check labels to be sure. I keep them on hand too.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:59 PM   #9
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I honestly don't know if it is even possible with prepared food. While there is low sodium prepackaged food, the processing usually sucks so much flavor out of the food that it is bland and tasteless. I usually end up salting low sodium prepared food. And then it just tastes weird.

Realize that you are making an excuse just like any other excuse. I'm not trying to be hard on you but when you make statements like "I would love it but it isnt possible because......" then it is an excuse. Own it. (now if you said "I am stationed in Antarctica and the nearest grocery store is 6 months away...that would be different ) Doesn't mean you have to change it right away, but honestly own that if you REALLY wanted it you could make it happen. It's good practice for everything else.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:59 AM   #10
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Prepackaged foods on a regular basis is not healthy and is very high in sodium. You need to get busy and cook real food. If you are concerned about sodium, look at the DASH diet.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:13 PM   #11
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You can buy fresh food that has already been cut up and portioned at supermarkets, and stuff like bagged salad takes no time at all. Nutrition bars and meal replacement shakes aren't very sodium-laden either. I am also busy and trying to eat low-sodium, and I manage all right. I am always running around and seem to rarely take the time to cook a nice meal for myself, but here is what I survive on when I am living out of a tote bag/running between work and other places:

-Greek yogurt
-Fresh fruit (a big box of clementines/bag of bananas/apples/berries etc lasts a while!)
-Salad made from bagged salad and a chopped bell pepper with cheese, I use sesame oil for dressing. Total prep time: < 5 minutes
-PB&J sandwiches! They are low in sodium.
-Subway subs
-Protein bars if I need an extra kick
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:19 PM   #12
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Low sodium soup is something I buy in bulk for when I don't feel like cooking.
I'll also buy a bunch of fruit and cut it all up at once, put it in individual baggies or containers for a quick snack.

I try and split prepackaged foods and fresh cooked/prepared foods evenly...some of the things I eat are high sodium, but it evens out for me.
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