The Pandemic knocked a lot of no-salt food products off mainstream store shelves as retailers pared down their assortments to concentrate on stocking their biggest sellers. So those of us eating no-salt diets had to turn elsewhere, primarily online to places like Healthy Heart Market..
I’ve been buying reduced sodium pickles, for example, but really wanted salt-free ones. Healthy Heart has its own brand of no-salt pickles. Buying just two jars, though, doubled the cost when shipping was added in. So I decided to look for other items to spread out the shipping cost a bit.
I also bought some lite Greek dressing, which I’ve reviewed here in the past, some Mrs. Dash salt-free fajita mix since I can’t find that locally, a jar of no-salt tomato paste (not pictured) and some no-salt bullion.
I’m particularly interested in trying to bouillon since I rarely eat any soup these days because of the the high salt content.
My bill came to $52.36, of which $14.55 was shipping (I used a $5-off shipping deal).
Expensive, yes, but with my blood pressure rising all through the pandemic, despite my doctor adjusting my various medications, the more salt I can get out of my diet, the better.
I’m a big fan of all the Mrs. Dash salt-free products and have written before about the Mrs. Dash salt-free taco seasoning packets I buy. These are the best way to get salt out of your tacos, along with buying no-salt, or low-salt tortillas and using lean ground turkey or extra-lean ground beef to eliminate fat as well.
But Mrs. Dash products ahve become much harder to find during the pandemic as major food stores cut down on their variety of products to concentrate filling their shelves with their biggest sellers. So if you can’t find Mrs. Dash locally, what can you do? Buying online is a more expensive alternative. But you also can search for store brand offerings that are lower in salt.
I found this Signature Select store brand (sold by Jewel in the Chicago area, an Albertson’s supermarket). The package says it has 30% less salt than comparable products. The nutritional panel lists 250 mgs of sodium for two teaspoons, noting there are six servings in the packet, which means a total of 1,500 mgs of sodium in one package (a day’s supply of sodium, basically).
That is a ton more than Mrs. Dash but it is lower than some mainstream brands. Old El Paso, for example, lists 300 mgs times six servings or 1,800 mgs. A third off that would be 1,200 mgs, so the Signature Select 30% less doesn’t hold up here.
McCormick Taco seasoning has 380 mgs of salt times six servings so 2,280 mgs. A third off that would be 1,520, so maybe that was the brand used to make that 30% off comparison.
The bottom line here — there is a lot of hidden salt in taco seasoning. Use salt-free whenever you can, but if you must pick an alternative, read the nutrition labels and look for ones labeled reduced sodium.
Food prices have been going up during the pandemic and continued to do so even as Covid is becoming less of a threat to those of us who have been vaccinated. So how do you cope, especially on a limited budget?
Dollar stores are one alternative, and a recent study says dollar store produce is no lower in quality than traditional grocery produce.
“Researchers from this study found no distinct differences between the supermarket and dollar store produce quality, although the dollar stores offered slightly less variety. The only major difference was in the price of the produce, as fruits and vegetables purchased from a dollar store were 84 percent less expensive, on average,” reports CookingLight.com
The study looked at dollar stores and traditional supermarkets in Las Vegas. The farther west you go, the more likely dollar stores are to sell fresh produce. Those in the Chicago area I frequent do not, but I have seen pineapples for $1 in California dollar stores, for example.
So where you live will likely influence how helpful this tip is for your shopping. Also, keep in mind the dollar stores that do carry produce generally do not have organic products, so if you prefer those you still need to pay up.