Limit Salt Intake: Avoid Processed Foods

The average person in the U.S. consumes 3,500 milligrams of sodium a day. That’s equivalent to almost 9 grams of salt, or nearly 2 teaspoonfuls—way more than the 2,300 milligrams per day suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

But the majority of excess salt, or 77%, isn’t spooned into your food—it comes from processed foods. The FDA recently announced a plan to gradually scale back on salt in processed foods, which may be the end of the line for super salty products.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for excess sodium and adjust your intake accordingly. Check out these hidden salt traps you can find lurking in the grocery store.

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran
Though this cereal contains only 15% of your daily sodium recommendation, it has more than double the sodium of some other cereals. Cheerios contains 190 milligrams, GoLean has 85 milligrams, and Special K Protein Plus contains 147 milligrams per one-cup serving.

Classico Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
One serving of this sauce contains more than 20% of your salt intake for the day. Instead, opt for more classic varieties—Classico’s Tomato & Basil has 310 milligrams—or even make your own.

Kellogg’s Eggo Buttermilk Pancakes
Eat these pancakes for breakfast, and you’ve consumed 25% of your sodium for the day. And if you add in 1/4 cup Kellogg’s Buttery syrup, you add in 90 more milligrams, for a total of 670 milligrams—one-third of your daily sodium. Swap them for two Eggo waffles and you save 160 milligrams.

MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burger
Usually veggie and black bean burgers are healthier alternatives to beef burgers. Even though these black bean burgers are only 210 calories, they contain nearly one-third of your daily sodium intake. A President’s Choice Backyard Burger contains 480 milligrams of sodium, and Amy’s Organics makes a low-sodium veggie burger with only 250 milligrams.

Kraft Singles
Whip up a grilled cheese sandwich with two Kraft singles and two slices of white bread (Arnold Country White Bread contains 180 milligrams per slice), and you could be consuming close to 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel Bread
Even if you don’t add any meat, cheese, or condiments, two slices of this pumpernickel bread will cost you 380 milligrams of sodium, or 15% of your daily total.

Perdue Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast, Southwestern Style Chicken Strips
Four ounces of uncooked chicken breast contains 45 milligrams of sodium, so if you’re craving Southwestern-style chicken, it’s better to make your own than to eat this precooked variety.

Lender’s Whole Grain Plain Bagel
This bagel has the same amount of sodium as a serving of Slim Jims, but somehow you don’t expect a bagel to run neck and neck with a salty-tasting snack. And if you add a smear of cream cheese (between 100 to 200 milligrams of sodium per ounce), you’ll have a breakfast that’s nearly one-third of your daily salt intake.

Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake
Think sweets come salt-free? No way! One slice of this cake equals 15% of your daily intake, and dark chocolate frosting adds another 120 milligrams.

Otis Spunkmeyer Harvest Bran Muffin
Muffins seem harmless, but this healthy-sounding breakfast contains more than 20% of your sodium for the day.

Birds Eye Asian Vegetables in Sesame Ginger Sauce
Any smart shopper knows to bypass the frozen vegetables with cheese sauce, but this label is deceptive. The product may contain only 60 calories per serving, but it packs in more than 25% of your daily sodium. Opt to make your own stir-fry using low-sodium soy sauce instead.

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