Always, always read those food labels; here’s why

I wrote recently about finding some private label reduced-sodium canned olives at a local store. I used that term because that’s what was on the can.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that the Kroger reduced-sodium olives I bought would still have more salt than a Lindsay low-sodium olive I usually purchase at another store. But when I got home, I compared the labels and found there was indeed a major difference in sodium content.

Here’s the side-by-side comparison:

The Lindsay olives on the left have 40 mgs of salt in five olives while the Kroger olives on the right have 70 mgs.. And for some reason, the lower-salt olives have more calories! Always read food labels, you never know what you’ll find.

 

Shopping news: Kroger offers reduced-sodium olives

A daily lunch salad has become a mainstay of my low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet since my first stent was put in back in 2012 (a second followed in 2017). I’m always looking for items to add to my salad for some variety.

Black olives are a childhood favorite that I always include. But canned olives can be high in sodium, as can so many other possible additives for my salad such as artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, palm hearts and roasted peppers. Thankfully low-sodium olives are available. I’ve written about using low-sodium olives before.

The Kroger reduced-salt olives
and a low-sodium olive from Lindsay.

Only a few stores in my area normally carry them, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a reduced-sodium Kroger store brand canned olive at my local Food 4 Less.

Food 4 Less is a Kroger semi-warehouse concept store the mega-chain operates in the Chicago area.

The six-ounce Kroger cans were on special at two for $3, a good price.

Is it worth monitoring the salt in your olives, some might ask? I say emphatically yes, the salt content might not seem high in olives alone, but salt is in every packaged product and can quickly add up in a salad without you even suspecting.

Special shipping deal ending soon at Healthy Heart Market

Healthy Heart Market is a good place to seek out low- and no-salt products that you can’t find locally. The drawback is usually high shipping costs because many food items weigh a lot, especially if you stock up.

But the Market has a $10 flat-rate shipping deal available through Jan. 31 if you spend $75 or more. “No coupon required – simply select shipping method ‘Flat Rate Ship on $75+ Order’ during check out,” according to an email it sent out touting the offer.

healthy-heart-market-no-salt-dill-pickle
No-salt pickles, impossible for me to find locally.

I’ve ordered a variety of items from there over the year. My favorite would have to be the no-salt pickles because those are impossible to find in any stores near me.

Act fast if you want to take advantage of this shipping offer.

Last-minute low-salt Thanksgiving Dishes

Rushing around trying to figure out how to blend a traditional Thanksgiving meal with low-salt offerings? Check my recipe page first for a whole Thanksgiving menu.

Getting ready for holiday cooking? Check back here often for no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat recipes.

And if you want more options, this Low Sodium Thanksgiving list from Epicurious.com is just what you’re looking for. Among the options:

There’s also a slew of cranberry recipes. I don’t eat those, so didn’t pay much attention but if you love them, this is the list for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving is a time to think about turkey (burgers)

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house, there’s likely a giant turkey somewhere nearby just awaiting its moment. But if you’re planning to eat out, or going to someone’s else’s home as I am this year (my son is cooking!!!), you might have an urge for turkey when you get home.

My Applegate turkey burgers with low-fat cheese on a whole-wheat bagel.

So Thanksgiving time could be the ideal time to try turkey burgers, which can be low in fat and salt and satisfy your craving without all the mess of making an entire turkey.

Turkey burgers generally are a good substitute for hamburgers as well since they are generally lower in salt and fat. One caveat, read the package label, some turkey burgers include dark meat and even skin which sends their fat content souring. Many add salt too, especially when they’re flavored somehow.

Applegate Natural & Organic Meats recently sent me some of its turkey burgers to sample. I like them. They pass the fat content (8 grams per burger) and salt content (105 mgs a burger) for a low-salt, low-fat diet. I broiled mine in the oven and was surprised to see them browning. Other turkey burgers I’ve tried usually remain a dull white color.

I think I left them in a bit long, so carefully monitor when you’re cooking them. I had two in a whole wheat bagel (the only whole wheat product in my local supermarket bakery the day I went). I added a slice of low-fat mozzarella cheese and used Localfolks low-salt, low-sugar ketchup to top them off. I also added a side of steamed asparagus.

Applegate turkey burgers are relatively low in fat and salt and have a very clean label in terms of ingredients.

It was a simple meal but delicious, sometimes simple is best, especially after elaborate Thanksgiving feasts. Thanks Applegate, I’d buy these burgers and serve them to company, especially when I do summer grilling.

13 food and beverage items not to keep in your frig

We’ve worked hard over the years to find condiments that aren’t overloaded with salt, sugar and fat. So we’ve found low-salt ketchup, low-salt salsa and even a low-salt teriyaki marinade. So I thought I’d be in good shape when I saw this post about the 13 Worst Foods in Your Fridge

I've found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.
I’ve found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.

Sure enough, regular ketchup is there, as are pickles (I’ve found low-salt pickles to substitute). I knew regular soda was loaded with sugar but tonic water surprised me, it made the list because of calories. Continue reading “13 food and beverage items not to keep in your frig”

20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first

Holidays are always difficult when you’re trying to minimize your salt, sugar and bad fat intake. Easter — traditionally a ham or lamb day — is no exception. We’ve posted about trying seafood instead, something we plan. But what about the side dishes? The Food Network recently ran this piece on 20 Healthy Easter Side Dishes which, of course, got my attention.

I regularly use pepper on grilled veggies such as these asparagus and zucchini.

But how healthy are they, really? The first, Provencal Potato Gratin, isn’t if you’re worried about sugar level since it starts with potatoes and also includes cheese, which is salty and fatty.

The steamed artichoke is good, if you leave off the melted butter shown. Try some lemon juice instead. Continue reading “20 healthy Easter sides? Check the salt and fat content first”

Meals kits are getting popular but beware the hidden salt!

Meal kits, which have all the ingredients for a given night’s dinner, are gaining in popularity, especially among younger consumers who may not have very developed cooking skills. Several companies will deliver them to people’s home and now supermarkets are stocking their own versions. The idea may sound appealing, but beware and, as always, read the ingredient labels before buying any.

Doing that myself, I found what seemed like a relatively appealing kit — with pasta and tomatoes, was a salt bomb, containing 1,320 mgs of salt per serving or 2620 mgs in the entire package which is supposed to be two servings. Continue reading “Meals kits are getting popular but beware the hidden salt!”

Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish

Fish is a traditional Friday dish for Catholics on Friday during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Easter Sunday itself is usually reserved for salty main courses, like ham, or fattier ones like lamb. But if you want to avoid high-salt, high-fat meals, why not try fish for an Easter Sunday main course instead?

The New York Times recently ran an easy-to-make recipe for Sheet-Pan Roasted Fish With Sweet Peppers.

You can use hake, cod or flounder as the main ingredient. I’d leave out the salt called for, but include everything else, except look for low-salt olive instead of regular salty ones. Ingredients are: Continue reading “Looking for a low-salt Easter dinner idea? Try fish”

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