Sodium is a necessary nutrient that can have a profoundly positive effect on health, which actually explains why for thousands of years salt has been one of the most popular seasonings. In fact, in some places around the world, entire wars have been fought over this savory substance, and some have used it as currency. But what exactly is it about salt that makes it such a sought after spice? Well, for starters, sodium can prevent sunstroke, regulate fluid levels, improve brain function, relieve muscle cramps, control glucose absorption, control blood pressure, and more. However, a person who consumes excessive amounts of sodium will often miss out on these benefits and skip straight to the prominent health risks many people are familiar with, including blood pressure that’s too high, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and more. Worst of all, although salt is the first thing people think of when they hear sodium, the truth is high concentrations of sodium can be hidden inside all kinds of natural foods as well, including meats, cheeses, milk, and even fruits and vegetables. To ensure your patients understand the true might of moderation, we’ve put together a list of a few of the best low sodium meal options you can offer at your facility. That way, you can teach even your pickiest patients the best way to better health is through balance!
- Fresh Fruit is always a great option for breakfast. While it may still have small traces of sodium, the amount does not surpass the fiber and vitamins you’re getting. Just make sure your patients keep in mind that some fruit has more sodium than others. For instance, while an apple, apricot, banana, or orange may only have one mg of sodium, other fruits such as cantaloupe and raisins can have anywhere from 5 to 15 mg, so variety is key.
- Hot/Cold Cereals are another filling breakfast option. Best of all, you can maximize your patients’ health even further by letting them custome their bowls, mixing and matching flavors to suit their liking. You can offer whole grain steel cut oats with a touch of cinnamon and honey, almonds, and apples; or blueberries, chia seeds, and walnuts. Either way, your patients are getting a great amount of fiber and protein, with a fraction of the sodium and sugar.
- Salads are once lunch staple that no one will ever get away from. They’re delicious, versatile, and above all else extremely healthy. You can use leftover proteins, like chicken or beef (pork is naturally very salty), to create scrumptious southwest salads, or utilize fresh fruits, seeds, and nuts to make a healthy summer salads. Most importantly, having so many diverse ingredients to create meals for patients allow them to feel more in control over their own care, while also allowing them to enjoy a healthy meal they won’t ever get bored of.
- Sandwiches, when made right, can be a fantastically filling lunch option. Using whole wheat/grain breads will give your patients that extra dose of fiber, while piling on all those veggies will ensure that your patients stay fuller, longer. Best of all, like with salads, you can mix and match your proteins and other ingredients to create something unique your patients will love! Just make sure you always try to avoid overly processed meats, like sliced ham, bacon, and other high-sodium options you’d often find in a deli.
- Grilled chicken or fish, paired with steamed vegetables and boiled, mashed, or roasted potatoes and a side salad, with fresh fruit for desert, is one meal you can never go wrong with. It’s well-balanced in terms of protein, nutrients, and carbs, it’s got a lot of natural flavor to help you avoid over seasoning, and it’s diverse enough to let your patients feel like they’re always having something different even when the base formula for the meal is the same – and simple.
- Power Bowls are supercharged meal options that can be made a variety of different ways depending on your patients’ tastes – and can even be made vegetarian. You can try beans, peas, and lentils with quinoa and fresh/roasted veggies for a massive boost of protein with plenty of other nutrients; or offer burrito bowls with chicken/beef, beans, brown rice, cheese, avocado, corn, tomatoes, onions, lettuce (or spinach or kale), and whatever else your patients might want for a delicious meal that will definitely satisfy.
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to deny your patients the foods they love the most in order to teach them healthier habits. It’s all about moderation and balance, and making sure they know how to substitute fresher ingredients for the less healthy and convenient options they’re already used to using. So long as you can do that, you can rest easy knowing your patients are on the path to greater health! Call 629.777.8989, or fill in the free consultation form in the sidebar, to learn more about how our software can positively impact the lives of the patients and visitors you service every day.