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On Your Table Blog

June 18, 2021

More salt please

More salt please

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

By Elizabeth Magee, LRD, RD

I just watched my daughter salt her pizza. Then I listened to her friend ask her what the heck she was doing. I just sat there laughing – because it’s ridiculous. Who salts their pizza??

Me. I do that. She learned it from me. I learned it from a friend in college, and I thought she was nuts, until she encouraged me to try it and I realized it made the pizza even better!! As I was laughing, I felt like a bad parent and a horrible dietitian.

I’ve blogged about this before, a few years ago, and I’m here to guarantee you nothing has improved for me. Why is it so hard to change? Especially when it comes to a “habit” like eating which is required to survive. Clearly, I understand how to eat healthy, and for the most part I do, but the salt is hands down the hardest change for me to make.

Here’s a snippet of sodium I consume daily. Maybe we’ll all learn something. Or maybe we won’t, but here’s your opportunity to judge someone fully educated in this business (and I truly care about my health) but has a hard time making changes.

Give or take, this is what my day looked like yesterday:

Breakfast was 2 eggs (140 mg) and 3 slices of ham (530 mg) with salsa (210mg) and naturally I added salt.

Then I snacked on some Triscuits passing through the kitchen – we’ll say I had 10 through the day (125 mg) occasionally consumed with Laughing Cow cheese (340 mg)

Lunch was decent – made a taco salad with fresh veggies, added chicken taco meat (I’ll estimate 200 mg), salsa (420 mg), some habanero avocado dressing (100 mg) and a few chips (115 mg)

Made nachos for supper (was home alone): Chips (115), onions, jalepenos, tomato, cilantro (ZERO mg), cheese (120 mg), salsa (420 mg).

I like to scatter this yummy and way too addicting kettle corn throughout my day. I easily had 6 cups (for sure an underestimation but I’m in charge so we’re calling it 6 – 330 mg). 2 Diet Dews (100 mg)

GRAND TOTAL – 3265 mg for the day. And remember, I salt everything I eat so its even higher than that. There are 590 mg in a ¼ tsp of salt, so we can safely add that to the total. That now brings us to 3855 mg. in a day. Is this exact? No, but the point is that I’m way over. Even before I salt everything, that part seems minor in my day.

How far over am I you might be thinking? The recommendations are no more than 2300 mg a day; and you’re really winning if you can keep it under 1500 mg per day. YIKES! And chances are good I’m underestimating my recall. So, it’s probably worse.

Should I change? Yes!! Will I? I should. I think about my 14-year-old already over consuming sodium and that scares me, she’s young to be developing this poor habit that is so unnecessary!! We just think everything tastes so much better with salt.

Baby steps and teamwork. And exploration of other spices, flavors and more label reading. Its going to be a thrilling summer… you can count on that!!!

In two years, maybe I’ll revisit this and see if I’ve made any changes for the better. Fingers crossed. Until then, maybe I can stop salting my pizza!

Elizabeth Magee is a registered licensed dietitian and loves chips and salsa! Elizabeth Magee is a licensed registered dietitian. Her posts appear monthly on OYT.

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