Sunday, May 16, 2010

Soup or Sodium?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had lunch at Houlihan's on Friday. What I didn't mention, was the side of sodium that came along with my meal.

I ordered their Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Salad Lunch Combo. The salad consisted of marinated shrimp, asparagus, arugula, tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette. Along with the salad, I chose a cup of their chicken tortilla soup. Both were delicious and if it weren't for the large amount of tortilla strips in the soup (I only ate half!), I wouldn't even have considered being worried about the calorie intake of the meal.

I am happy to say that Houlihan's has their nutritional information posted on their website. However, I am not happy about what I found. Imagine my shock when I realized it wasn't the calories that I needed to be concerned about, but the amount of sodium in my meal.

Currently, the recommended intake of sodium a day is 2,400 milligrams. However, we typically range between 3,000 - 5,000 milligrams of sodium a day. Given my history with high blood pressure, I have gotten use to cooking with low sodium products and trying to watch my intake there, as much as I do my fat and calories.

Grilled Shrimp Combo - 1,094 milligrams of sodium
Chicken Tortilla Soup - 2,108 milligrams of sodium

Imagine my shock when I realized that in one meal, I've just consumed 3,202 milligrams of sodium. That's more than the recommended amount, in ONE MEAL. I haven't even had dinner yet! How about some soup with my cup of sodium. Some salt with my shrimp?

I expected the soup to probably be about 1,000 milligrams. But over 2,000? And it wasn't until going back to their website for a second time to verify the numbers, that I noticed how much sodium was in the salad.

Is that much salt in our food really necessary? Is it not possible to provide us withdelicious, restaurant quality food in a manner that is healthy and affordable? It seems as though the answer is no.

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