Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade

My advice about soup if you’re on a low-fat and low-salt diet? Forget it. Without fat and salt, it’s just water with some random things in it.

Canned soups are some of the highest sodium per serving products you can buy today in your local supermarket or food shop. One cup of Progresso chicken noodle, for example, has 690 mgs of sodium, more than half my daily recommended level. And a can often is more than one serving.

Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.
Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.

So I’ve missed soup terribly in the 18 months since my angioplasty. My wife has tried making some with only vegetables, but it didn’t really taste all that inviting to me. So I was excited to see some soups at my local Jewel recently calling themselves “light in sodium.” The soups, under the Imagine brand and made by Hain Celestial Group, an organic processor, even came in interesting flavors like garden broccoli. Continue reading “Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade”

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Noyes Street Cafe: a neighborhood gem

I asked about a butterflied trout special. The menu described it as seasoned, and that usually means lots of salt. The waiter said he would check and returned quickly to tell me they could make it without the salt in the seasoning.

The Noyes Street cafe sits tucked next to the El tracks in a part of Evanston that I think of as student-y, dating back to my own student days there. So it’s always surprises me how sophisticated the menu can be. I also was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit about how easily they were able to accommodate my low-salt/no-salt requests.

Noyes Street Cafe trout, a great low-salt special.
Noyes Street Cafe trout, a great low-salt special.

I asked about a butterflied trout special. The menu described it as seasoned, and that usually means lots of salt. The waiter said he would check and returned quickly to tell me they could make it without the salt in the seasoning, so I said let’s try it. I also opted for carrots and roasted potatoes as side, passing on the likely high fat mashed potato options; I also asked for a salad with oil and vinegar. As it turned out, the waiter brought the salad with a vinaigrette dressing but I had my oil and vinegar packets with me, so compensated with those. Continue reading “Noyes Street Cafe: a neighborhood gem”

Naturally sweeten soda: what is that anyway?

But let’s face it, water, which I now drink a lot, is boring and tasteless. So I keep searching for low-calorie diet alternatives.

Diet soda was a mainstay of my pre-angioplasty life, giving me daily hits of sweetness with no calories and I thought no harm. It comes in for much derision these days and is off my diet now except for once or twice a week, my now special treats.

But let’s face it, water, which I now drink a lot, is boring and tasteless. So I keep searching for low-calorie diet alternatives.

A recent trip to Whole Foods brought one to my attention, something called Honest Fizz naturally sweetened zero calorie soda (made by a unit of Coke of all places). Twelve-ounce cans were on sale for four for $5, or $1.25 a can. Not cheap, but the hope they would be tasty caused me to buy some of the root beer and lemon lime varieties.

Honest Fizz soda tasted good, how do you feel about stevia?
Honest Fizz soda tasted good, how do you feel about stevia?
Continue reading “Naturally sweeten soda: what is that anyway?”

Low-fat cookies: here’s one to try, from Hannahmax Baking

I liked them, wishing only they could have been bigger with less fat and fewer calories. The bag I bought supposedly had six servings of six cookies each. I could have easily eaten it all in one setting which would have been 36 grams of fat and 720 calories, two no-nos for me these days.

Cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies, were one of my favorite binge foods but since my angioplasty, cookies have been largely out of my diet. I keep searching for low-fat, low-sodium varieties, but few exist. I did find one variety at Whole Foods, but buying those requires a special trip to the one (of three) Whole Foods in my area that carries them regularly.

So I was excited to see a cookie that seemed relatively low-fat and low-sodium at a local Jewel supermarket. The offering, from Hannahmax Baking, was relatively tasty and if you look at the nutrition label on the package, you’d think it was low-fat and low-sodium. Five of these chocolate chip cookies has only six grams of fat.

Hannahmax cookie chips
Hannahmax cookie chips: tasty but tiny
Hannahmax cookie chips nutrition information.
Hannahmax cookie chips nutrition information.
Continue reading “Low-fat cookies: here’s one to try, from Hannahmax Baking”

Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal

I still went over my daily salt and fat allotments, but I also splurged with the gravy and had two chocolate brownies for dessert, so that likely explained it. Think about how far over I would have been had I not done all this.

Easter dinner traditionally means one of two main courses — either ham or lamb. But neither is an acceptable choice if you’re on a low-salt, or a low-fat, or a low-salt, low-fat diet as I am. That can make being a guest at someone else’s Easter feast a problem for you.

So do what I did this year. Invite family and/or friends to your house where you control the menu. Then assemble a low-salt, low-fat meal that everyone will enjoy, even if some guests are missing the ham (they can buy some at their houses).

My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
My low-salt, low-fat Easter dinner
Continue reading “Low-salt Easter dinner: how to enjoy the holiday meal”