I love salsa. Is this considered a vegetable? I’m watching my sodium and am having a difficult time finding a salsa that is low in sodium.
You’re in luck. A half-cup serving of salsa can count as a serving of vegetables as long as the salsa is truly chockfull of veggies and not non-vegetable based fillers such as starches or gums.
So add some zip to your meals by spooning salsa into your pita sandwiches, omelet, macaroni & cheese, or over chicken, fish, or vegetarian burgers.
As for the sodium, some brands do, unfortunately, also ladle on over 200 milligrams (mg) for a mere two tablespoons of salsa. Since there are eight tablespoons in a half cup, that calculates to over 800 mg of sodium for each half cup of salsa.
Currently, it’s recommended that we keep our sodium intake to less than 2,400 mg daily. A high sodium diet has been associated with higher blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
Luckily, there are some brands of salsa, such as Enrico’s and Green Mountain Gringo, that serve up only 80 to 90 mg of sodium for two tablespoons, making the heftier half cup serving a more reasonable 320 to 360 mg.
When salsa shopping, use the food label as a guide. A salsa that spoons up 5 percent or less of the daily value for sodium, is considered a low sodium bet. (The daily value for sodium on the food label is set at 2,400 mg). Click here for more on label reading.
If you can’t find a low sodium salsa, here’s an easy culinary trick: mix in an equal amount of fresh veggies to your favorite prepared salsa. For example, add a 1/4 cup combination of fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, and some minced jalapeno pepper (all which contain a miniscule amount of naturally occurring sodium) into a 1/4 cup of prepared salsa. Presto: a 1/2 cup of salsa with about half the sodium.