I've been in a state of transition over the past few weeks what with moving back to the beach and all. And with the upheaval, I'm finding that I have to eat out more than I like too (for those who are new…I'm not a big fan of dining out. See blog post http://bit.ly/dHnzez). But it's not always the wait staff that frustrates me. It's the incredible amount of salt that many restaurants hide in their dishes.
Somewhere, somehow, in our drive to eat healthier: low fat, low carb, slow food, etc. we've seemed to have lost our way regarding salt. It appears that restaurants are placating our desire to eat low fat/low carb foods with items that deliver.
But with a price.
And that price is sodium.
That's why I title this post "Pass the Salt". Because that's what I want you to do. Pass it. Right by me. I won't be needing to add any to many of the offerings I find in my local restaurants.
Let me explain.
Subway has ensconced itself in our psyche as being one of the places to pick up a quick and healthy meal. And to a good extent they've succeeded with several sandwiches and wraps. Now they offer breakfast. And since we're convinced through spokespeople like Jared and Apolo that their offerings are wholesome, why not skip Mickey D's and head over to Subway for their appetite-satisfying Foot Long Mega Omelet Sandwich. Sounds good, eh? But wait…
This particular b'fast sandwich packs 1,430 calories, 90 grams of fat, and 3,530 milligrams of salt. Well, we all know how those 1,430 calories fit into a 2,500 calorie diet. And we know how those 90 grams of fat fit into a diet that recommends 50 - 70 grams of fat: with a crowbar. But how much is 3,530 mgs of salt? Well…that's over 1-1/2 teaspoons.
When was the last time you poured 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt on anything, let alone a sandwich?
Okay. Forget breakfast. Let's grab some lunch.
Stir fry sound good? Oh yeah!
How about PF Chang's Beef and Broccoli? Think about it: thin strips of beef and broccoli stir-fried to perfection. Wait. Hold on. This dish packs 1,090 calories and 65 grams of fat. Okay, we might be aware that many restaurant food choices tip the scale in the calorie and fat department. Even if it's stir-fried. But this dish also contains 3,752 mg's of sodium - A tad more than the b'fast we just passed up!
So, forget lunch. How bout a salad for dinner? I hear Chili's has a Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad to die for. That would be better than a slab of ribs or a burger, eh?
While this salad boasts chicken, it's far from healthy. Why? It packs 1,110 calories and 79 grams of fat. But here's the kicker: 4,150 mg's of sodium. That's nearly 2 teaspoons! Let me ask you, when you make a salad at home, do you even consider tossing 2 teaspoons of salt into each bowl?
I didn't think so.
But here's the surprising thing. None of these dishes taste really "salty". This is why folks smarter than me call it "hidden salt".
Oh…and you know that little packet of ketchup you get at McDonalds? The one that just may coat three or four fries? Well, that little baby packs nearly as much salt as the order of fries you just purchased. And who uses just one small packet of ketchup on their fries?
Now you know why I don't dine out often.
However, I love the spirit of community, the shared drinks, and the good conversation that a night out provides.
So now I go light on the food. And the most salt I get is from the rim of my margarita glass. And if I'm in an Irish pub I pass on the margarita and order a Guinness or Smithwicks. I still have a great night out and I don't return home resembling a salt lick.