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Tips for Avoiding Excess Sodium at Restaurants

October 18th, 2017

By: Linda Kunicki

When older adults are told by their physicians that they need to reduce their sodium intake, the change can be difficult at first. One of the things that many people struggle with when making dietary changes is eating out. Many restaurants serve foods with excess salt, so it can be hard to know which foods fit into a low-sodium diet and how to make good choices. Below are some tips for helping seniors to avoid excess sodium at restaurants.

Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask servers questions about the foods on the menu. Learn how foods are prepared. For example, a baked potato might sound like a good choice, but some restaurants roll the potatoes in salt before cooking them to enhance flavor. 

Call Ahead
If you’re trying a new restaurant, call ahead to find out if the chef is willing to accommodate special dietary needs. Small, locally owned restaurants that use fresh ingredients might be better able to make changes to menu items. Find out specifically if the chef can cook menu items without adding salt, and using herbs instead.

Get Sauces and Dressings on the Side
Sauces and dressings are often high in salt. Ask for them on the side so that the senior can control how much they put on their food. You may even want to suggest that they use dressings and sauces only to dip their fork in before using it to pick up food to add flavor without too much salt.

Make Smart Choices
Help the older adult to choose menu items that use fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. These tend to be lower in sodium. Stay away from fried foods, which often contain more salt. Also, stay away from foods that are made with cheese, broth, or soy sauce. If you’re ordering dessert, opt for sorbet or fresh fruit.

Spare the Condiments
Condiments, like ketchup, are usually high in sodium. Advise the senior to skip them or at least to use them sparingly. 

If your aging family member is on a low-sodium diet, a senior care provider can help them to reduce their sodium intake, both at home and in restaurants. A senior care provider can prepare healthy meals at home, and even help grocery shop for them. Senior care providers can also help older adults to make healthy choices when dining out or picking up a take-out meal.

Sources
https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20171030/be-wary-of-excessive-salt-in-some-restaurant-meals
https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/low-sodium-diet-restaurants
https://www.everydayhealth.com/hypertension/caregiving/eating-out-with-hypertension.aspx

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME SENIOR CARE IN BERWYN, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE OF LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY 708-551-2500.