Eating out is a way of life for most people, but when you're trying to avoid foods high in sodium, it can be almost impossible to order the right foods. If you're on a medical low-sodium diet, it's even more essential for you to know about the foods you need to avoid when ordering. Here are some of the general choices and different International flavors to help you avoid meals that are high in sodium.
1. General Choices
Overall, your biggest sodium bombs are going to be in:
- Breaded items
- Creamy dressings
- Smoked/cured meats
Ask for all dressings and condiments on the side, so you can control the amount of these you use.
2. Fast Food
We all know that fast food is a no-no, but sometimes there just aren't many options. The key to ordering in the drive thru is to avoid the obvious and control what you can. Here's the basics to avoid:
- Breaded foods
- Salted fries
- Dessert items (except for fruit or yogurt)
- Sub sandwiches/wraps
Don't forget, you do have the right to ask for things to be made in a way you desire. Instead of a hamburger on a bun, ask for it in a lettuce wrap. A lot of fast food restaurants are now offering alternative options to help keep sodium and fat levels down.
3. Asian Cuisine
Asian food can be a tough one and most of their sodium hides in the sauces and condiments. To best control this, ask for all sauces and condiments on the side and use only the tips of your chopsticks to add to your meal. Here are the things to avoid:
- Battered or fried foods
- Pickled foods
- Chow mein/Lo mein
The fried foods and condiments are fairly obvious, but soups and pickled foods can be just as bad.
4. French Cuisine
French food is pretty good about keeping the sodium levels down. Most dishes are made with a wine base and light dressings. Stick with fresh fruit and tarts for dessert for a satifying meal. The foods to avoid include:
- Creamy soups
- Creamy sauces
5. Mexican Cuisine
Mexican is a really tough one, too. There are many components to Mexican food and the sodium can easily be layered on at every stage of the dish. Foods that are high in sodium to avoid include:
- Flour tortillas
- Cheesy dishes
- Beans and rice
6. Italian Cuisine
While many Italian dishes are fine in themselves, it's the all the extras that are high in sodium. Pass up these items to help keep your sodium levels under control:
- Cheese/cream sauces
- Additional grated cheeses
Whether you're just grabbing something on the way home or taking the whole family out for dinner, there is a way you can avoid foods that are high in sodium. Take the time to read the menu to see what sauces, cheeses and other elements are in the dish that are on this list to avoid. Talk with your server (and, if possible, the chef) to custom tailor your meal to decrease the sodium level without losing the flavor you want.