If you recently made the decision to try to eat healthier meals, there’s something you really need to know…
Some meals that are labeled as “Healthy” meals really aren’t very healthy at all.
These days most grocery stores have “Healthy Meals” sections that offer prepared frozen or canned food items that are low in fat and sugar.
But there’s a problem…
Many of those “Healthy” foods come with way too much sodium!
For example, check out this nutrition label from a package of frozen Green Giant vegetables:
Take a close look and you’ll see the following…
Total Calories: 45
Calories from Fat: 10
Sounds pretty good, right? Those values should fit right in with any diet.
However, there’s another ingredient listed that should raise a huge red flag…
Now that might sound like a reasonable amount for one meal, but is it really? Let’s take a closer look…
That 380mg of sodium is for just one serving, and there are six servings per package.
According to the label, the amount of actual food in this package equates to about three cups of vegetables after they are cooked. That means one person could easily eat everything in the package and still have room left over for something else to eat along with it.
If you were to eat all three cups of the vegetables in this small package you would end up consuming a whopping 2,280mg of sodium. And that doesn’t even include the sodium that would be in anything else that you ate or drank along with the vegetables!
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the maximum recommended daily allowance of sodium for an adult is 2,300mg per day, or about one teaspoon.
That means this one package of frozen vegetables contains an entire day’s recommended allowance of sodium all by itself!
If you drink most anything besides water and/or eat anything else along with the vegetables you’ll end up consuming way more than the recommended daily amount just during that one meal.
And as you probably know, regularly eating too much sodium can lead to some very serious health problems.
Just because a food product is sold in the “Healthy Foods” section or the label says “Low Fat” or “Low in Calories”, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s truly healthy.
And the problem is compounded if you routinely eat more than a single serving, and many of us do that on a regular basis.
Case in point: Do you ever open a can of Campbell’s soup and eat just one serving when just one little can typically holds 3.5 servings? Me neither.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not trying to pick on the “Green Giant” and “Campbells” brands here. I just used these particular products as examples because I had ready access to them.
Everything I’ve said above applies equally to most any brand you’ll find in your local grocery store. Green Giant and Campbells are really no worse than any of the others.
Just so you’ll know, virtually anything that comes in a box, bag or can is going to be high in sodium unless it prominently says either “No Salt Added” or “Unsalted” on the package. And even if it says something like that on the front it’s still a good idea to turn the package around and verify that claim by carefully reading the “Nutrition Facts” panel.
And that brings up one last point…
Don’t be fooled by packages that say “Low Sodium” or “Reduced Sodium” on the front of the package.
Always go by the amount of sodium listed on the “Nutrition Facts” panel because the manufacturers are allowed to say virtually anything on the front panel, but federal law requires the “Nutrition Facts” panel to be truthful and accurate.
The next time you’re out shopping for “healthy” food items just ignore everything you see on the front label and carefully read the “Nutrition Facts” panels instead.
And always remember to multiply the amount of sodium per serving by the number of servings listed in the “Nutrition Facts” panel!
You just might be shocked to learn how much sodium is in those “reduced sodium” and “low sodium” foods.
To finish up, here’s a short video from the Mayo Clinic that explains how to spice things up to lower your salt intake. Check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.