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When we were in Las Vegas last week, we ate out for pretty much every meal. We didn’t really have a choice! Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new food in new places, but as I’m entering the last month of my pregnancy, I’ve been a lot more in tune with my sodium intake. I can immediately tell when I consume too much sodium because I can literally feel it in my chest (even when I’m not pregnant), and I don’t want to swell or have any issues these last few weeks!

After sitting in on our trainer meetings last week, I thought this would be a great topic to cover because this is an area that a lot of people seem to struggle with. Whether pregnant or not, we obviously should all watch our sodium intake!

Why do we need to watch our sodium intake? Excessive sodium intake leads to: High blood pressure, Increased risk of stroke & heart attack, kidney disease, osteoporosis, obesity, stomach cancer, GERD, and Ulcers. Not to mention, retaining fluid (which isn’t fun, even if you’re not pregnant)!

DID YOU KNOW that most of the issues that we have with sodium don’t come from the salt shaker, but from eating processed foods?!

Even the most well intentioned people who are diligent about keeping track of their proteins, carbs and fats don’t realize how much sodium they’re taking in on a daily basis. You may even make seemingly “healthy” choices when you’re out to eat but this is where you could be making a big mistake! For example, did you know that the “Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken” from Panera Bread has 740 mg of sodium?! I was shocked when I found this because I actually love that salad! And their “Greek Salad” has 1100 mg of sodium! Don’t even get me started on their soups & sandwiches- alone, they range from 500-2200+ mg of sodium.

Even going to a perceivably “healthy” restaurant can put your sodium levels in the danger zone because a lot of the food, especially the meat (your typical main source of protein) is mass produced and frozen. Yes, Panera is a better choice than many other “fast food” restaurants, but it’s still “fast food”!

“So Mandy, what I should I do?!”

Consume unprocessed, whole foods and stay away from the processed stuff as much as you can! Avoid microwave meals (including lean cuisines and frozen dinners), canned foods, restaurant meals, snack foods, processed meats, deli meats, frozen meats, etc. as often as possible.

How many days a week do you eat out at a restaurant? Even if you’re making decent choices, it might be worth it for your sodium levels to do some cutting back.

If you find that you end up dining out frequently, our advice is to make time in your schedule to plan your meals ahead. Often times, we end up at these places because we are traveling and didn’t pack a lunch, or we forgot to bring food to work with us, or we are bored with the same old, same old. If you make the time to plan ahead and find healthy, whole food meals that you like, you will be so much healthier and happier in the long run! Do you need some meal ideas? Email me and I will send you some of our favorites!

Does your face feel puffy? Are your jeans fitting tighter? According to the American Heart Association, in just 3 weeks, you can drastically change you sodium palate and reduce bloating if you just change some simple eating habits. They suggest to: 

  • Look for lower sodium foods in the store
  • Track your sodium consumption for at least 1 week
  • Use fresh poultry instead of fried, canned for processed
  • Eat more whole veggies
  • Use lower sodium meats, cheese and condiments 

Get great at reading food labels before you consume, cook at home more often with whole foods, and you’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel (and maybe even how your clothes fit)!

Thank you for taking the time to read this!- Mandy Webb, KW Fitness Co-Owner