5 Lower Sodium Lunches On The Go

You took your doctor’s advice and hidden the salt shaker. That’s the first step towards managing dietary sodium.  You may not know is that sodium is EVERYWHERE; especially in packaged, processed or fast foods.  Here’s five examples of high sodium meals and some alternatives to downing your whole daily allowance on one meal at the drive-through1,2.

Big Breakfast with Hotcakes at McDonald’s Big is right! Scrambled eggs and sausage sounds good; but add those hash browns and a small stack of pancakes. All that AND a large-size biscuit and you‘ll be starting the day with 2,260 mg of sodium and 1,150 calories.

Alternative: Get Big Breakfast without hotcakes and save 580 mg of sodium and 350 calories.

Volcano Nachos at Taco Bell Those molten cheese-laden nachos with spicy ground beef, pinto beans, and jalapeños be         tempting but BREAK the nutrition bank with 970 calories and 58 grams of fat—more than any other item on the menu—plus 1,670 mg of sodium.

Alternative:  Choose Nachos Supreme with spicy beef, beans, nacho cheese, diced tomatoes and reduced fat sour cream, but has only 430 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 690 mg of salt.

Spicy Italian at Subway Pepperoni and salami—two salty meats—are paired in this sandwich. A 6-inch sub without sauce or cheese has 1,520 mg of sodium and 480 calories. A foot long with mayo packs 3200 milligrams of sodium and 1180 calories.

Alternative:  Choose 6-inch BLT—bacon, lettuce and tomato on whole wheat with half the sodium (680 mg) and fewer calories (320).

Variety Big Box Meal at KFC’s KFC This meal—a drumstick, a Crispy Strip, a box of Popcorn Chicken, two Homestyle sides with mashed potatoes, gravy and cole slaw), a biscuit and a 32-oz. drink (Pepsi)—blasts the daily sodium maximum, packs more than 3,000 mg of salt and more than 1,400 calories.

Alternative: Choose Honey BBQ Snacker with large corn on the cob, House Side Salad with buttermilk dressing and a 16-ounce Lipton Brisk Lemon Tea.  Total (725 mg) sodium and 505 calories. Tip:  Do dressing on the side. Dip your fork in it to get the taste of it without the sodium.

Burrito at Chipotle’s Salt adds up quickly when you’re building a burrito. A Carnitas, or pork, burrito with white rice, pinto beans, Tomatillo-red chili sauce, Romaine lettuce, sour cream, cheese and guacamole has 2,650 mg of sodium, 1,185 calories. Surprise: the saltiest item is the soft flour tortilla (at 670 mg of sodium).

Alternative:  Burrito Bowl. Skip tortilla, choose fillings like chicken, brown rice, fajita veggies, and green tomatillo salsa. Total: 920 mg of sodium and 385 calories.

Lurking sodium is not always noticeable in foods, but armed with knowledge, you’ll make wiser choices!


  1. http://www.health.com/health/gallery
  2. http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/04/health/gallery/fast-food-worst-sodium-meals/

Tags:  Sodium, blood pressure

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