Health and Medicine Division of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says adults only need about 1,500 milligrams of sodium every day and that anything over 2,300 milligrams per day is too much. If you’ve decided to cut back on your sodium (and most of us probably should), you’re finding out just how difficult that can be, especially if you’re used to consuming a fair amount of salty snacks and foods.
But, salt is just one sodium-laden culprit. Various preservatives and flavor enhancers contain plenty of sodium as well, so you’ll need to do more than hiding the salt shaker.
The best way to watch your sodium is to read Nutrition Facts labels and ingredients lists on the foods you eat. Also, you can flip through the slideshow to take a look at a bunch of foods that are high in sodium. Do any of these common foods surprise you?
Sausages, as well as most other processed meats, are high in sodium due to the salt, preservatives and flavor enhancers. A typical 3-ounce sausage has at least 500 milligrams of sodium and may more than 1,500 milligrams. That’s a huge amount considering the average person should aim for less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
And even the healthier sausages, such as turkey sausage are typically high in sodium, too.
2. Blue Cheese
Cheese can be relatively high in sodium, especially if you eat more than a single one-ounce serving, which is just one slice. Some types of cheese, like cheddar, mozzarella, brie, and provolone aren’t bad. But, one ounce of blue cheese has 325 milligrams. That means that topping your salad with a quarter cup of blue cheese crumbles will add about 400 milligrams of sodium.
3. Dill Pickles
Dill pickles can be very high in sodium. A small spear may have less than 300 milligrams, but a large dill pickle (about four inches long) has more than 1,000 milligrams. Even one little slice of dill pickle has almost 60 milligrams. Sweet pickles fare a little better — a large Gherkin (about three inches long) has about 160 milligrams.
A burrito is basically a tortilla filled with beans and cheese, and maybe some beef or chicken. It may also have a bit of sour cream, lettuce and salsa tucked inside. It also has massive amounts of sodium. One burrito from a fast food restaurant has over 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
5. Onion Rings
Onion rings go from just high in sodium to crazy high in sodium depending on where you get them. One restaurant serving of onion rings can have from 1,000 milligrams to around 2,000 milligrams or more. The good news is that frozen onion rings from a grocery store come in at about 200 milligrams per serving.
6. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is high in sodium, even if you remove the skin. One fried chicken breast with the skin has about 1,300 milligrams of sodium. Leaving the skin behind will save you about 400 milligrams of sodium. A drumstick with the skin has over 400 milligrams of sodium.
7. Ramen Noodles
Those inexpensive little bags of ramen noodles are quite high in sodium. One package, which is probably considered to be two servings, has about 1,500 milligrams of sodium. You might be able to find brands with less sodium, but even then, read the labels — they’re probably still high in sodium.
8. King Crab
Crab meat varies a bit by species. For example, a 3-ounce serving of Dungeness crab has less than 400 milligrams of sodium, but the same amount of king crab meat has 900 milligrams sodium. One king crab leg has about 1,400 milligrams sodium.
9. Veggie Burgers
Veggie burgers may be tasty and made with healthy ingredients, but they’re also a little high in sodium. One veggie burger patty has about 400 milligrams of sodium — that’s before it’s put on a bun and loaded with tasty toppings, which will add at least 200, or more, milligrams of sodium.
10. Pot Pies
Those small frozen pot pies are convenient because all you need to do is heat them in your oven. But a frozen pot pie has a lot of sodium. A single serving chicken, beef or turkey pot pie as 1,000 or more milligrams of sodium. A piece of homemade pot pie may have less sodium, but it depends on what fillings are included.
11. Baked Beans
Canned baked beans are certainly an excellent source of fiber and protein, but most of the time they’re also high in sodium. One cup of canned baked beans has over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. Unfortunately, a cup of homemade baked beans has about the same, unless you find a low-salt recipe.
12. Clam Chowder
The most common forms of clam chowder are the creamy New England clam chowder and the tomato-based Manhattan style. They’re both delicious, but they’re also high in sodium. One cup of either type has anywhere from 600 to 800 milligrams of sodium, depending on the brand.
13. Breakfast Sandwiches
A typical fast food breakfast sandwich made with ham, bacon, or sausage and egg and cheese has about 1,000 milligrams of sodium, but that number can go as high as 2,000 milligrams. An average frozen breakfast sandwich that you can buy from a grocery store has about 600 milligrams of sodium.
14. Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped potatoes are prepared with cheese, butter, and milk or cream. One cup of scalloped potatoes has about 800 milligrams of sodium. The sodium count is about the same if you make them from scratch or if you use a mix.
15. Russian and Thousand Island Dressing
Most salad dressings have under 200 milligrams per two-tablespoon serving, but Russian and Thousand Island dressing both have close to 400 milligrams per serving. And, really, if you’re eating a big salad, there’s a good chance you’ll be using more than one serving.