Peculiar MO (High 62 Mostly Clear Low 40)
Since we normally regale about food in our blog we thought we would share our experiences with a low sodium diet and eating out.
Bob was given instructions after his open heart surgery for his aortic valve replacement to go on a low sodium diet of less than 1500mg per day, with no more than 2000mg occasionally. Let's just say that has not been easy. The amount of sodium that is in prepared foods and served at restaurants is incredible, sometimes many times over your daily allotment. This is a brief summary of our low sodium diet adventures.
We first begin by recommending an android app that we have on Jo's Kindle Fire, Fast Food Nutrition, available on the Google Play Store here. We usually don't recommend apps that you have to pay for but for $2.99 you get detailed nutrition info for over 350 restaurants, not all of whom are fast food. It is easy to use and we could not have survived the low sodium diet without it.
As much as we like to eat out we at first had some trouble finding places that would accommodate a low sodium diet. With the help of the app we did find some surprising winners. First of all is the steakburger places like Freddy's, Steak and Shake and Winsteads, for those in the know you realize that a steakburger is much thinner than a regular hamburger. It is made from USDA Choice Steak a cut or two above your average hamburger. You can eat a double California steakburger with no cheese and sauce and split a small order of fries at Freddy's for just a little over 600mg of sodium. The key is to ask for no seasoning while the burger is made and no salt on the fries. This kind of advice is good at any restaurant to be honest.
Other winners include the lunch portion of the linguine marinara at Olive Garden, salmon or the small sirloin at Longhorns Steakhouse. You have to be careful with your side dishes as they can contain a lot of sodium too. Some winners at Longhorns include sweet potato at 0mg of sodium, loaded baked potato at 150mg. Bob had a meal with salmon and baked potato and sweet potato and it was 450mg of sodium. The mushroom and swiss single at Culvers and small fries was also surprising at just under 600mg of sodium. A build you own omelet at IHOP with egg substitute and just veggies and swiss cheese is also a good low sodium choice as is the Tri-Athlete egg white omelet at First Watch.
If you are wondering why the list includes only chain restaurants it is because it is easier to find sodium content than at your local mom and pop restaurant.
We also found a wide variety of sodium content on cheese, american cheese is one of the worst you can have for sodium content, cheddar is better but swiss is best, at least for the places we frequented.
Condiments are also high in sodium but we found a 0mg mustard (Westbrae Natural Stoneground No Salt Added) that is very good and a 0mg ketchup (Heinz No Salt Added) that is ok in sandwiches but leaves a little to be desired if by itself. We plan on using the mustard for a long time but will probably try to find a better ketchup alternative.
While cooking at home we have used a lot of Mrs. Dash, the table blend is a good variety, so good in fact that we carry one in Jo's purse to use in restaurants.
When we first started on the low sodium diet we were a little depressed. But once we had a lunch at Culvers and a breakfast at First Watch we really felt like we were eating a full meal and still watching Bob's sodium. We started eating more fish at home using Mrs. Dash and we found some Heart Healthy Pasta Sauce and Mixed Nuts.
Bob just got cleared by the Cardiologist to not go so crazy on sodium, but to still watch it, if that makes any sense. His blood pressure problems were not due to sodium. What that means is that KC barbeque is now an option, but not every day. We hope to take what we learned while cutting back on sodium to help us live a little healthier.
Till next time,
Bob and Jo