A vegetable tray is a healthy alternative to fatty appetizers at a party, but most store-bought vegetable dips are high in sodium. One serving of store-bought dip may contain more than 10 percent of your recommended daily sodium intake, but you can easily make a low-sodium alternative with a few simple ingredients.
Sodium flavors and preserves foods, but eating too much sodium can mean big trouble for your heart. A high-sodium diet increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, women are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure as they age, so it’s important to watch your sodium intake now to prevent major health problems down the road. To prevent health risks, the Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams, mostly from high-sodium processed foods.
Made from chopped fruits or vegetables, salsa can add an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber to your vegetable tray. Two tablespoons of store-bought salsa contain 254 milligrams of sodium, 11 percent of your daily recommended sodium intake. Choose low-sodium and no-sodium varieties, or make your own with chopped tomatoes, purple onion, basil, garlic, cumin, vinegar and oregano. For a summer barbecue, try a light watermelon salsa. Dice watermelon with onions, cilantro, pepper and balsamic vinegar for a sweet and spicy dip.
Dips made with sour cream can be high in sodium and saturated fat, the dangerous fat that raises your levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol. Two tablespoons of sour cream and onion dip contain 3 grams of saturated fat and 170 milligrams of sodium. If you like creamy dips, make a healthy version with low-fat or fat-free yogurt. A low-sodium food, yogurt provides protein and calcium, a crucial mineral that keeps your bones strong as you age. Make a tasty and refreshing dip with plain, low-fat yogurt, chopped cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh dill, olive oil, onions and chopped garlic.
Chopped veggies and salad dressing make a convenient mid-day snack, but many bottled salad dressings are high in sodium. One tablespoon of Russian dressing contains 170 milligrams of sodium, and 1 tablespoon of regular Caesar dressing has 178 milligrams. Make a low-sodium dressing using a flavored oil, like grapeseed, peanut or sesame oil, and vinegar. For extra flavor, add onion powder and fresh herbs.
- American Heart Association: Women and High Blood Pressure
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Americans Consume Too Much Sodium (Salt)
- USDA Nutrient Database: Salsa, Ready To Serve
- CalorieKing.com: Heluva Good French Onion
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Yogurt, Plain, Low Fat, 12 grams Protein Per 8 Ounce
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Salad Dressing, Russian Dressing
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Salad Dressing, Caesar Dressing, Regular
Jennifer Dlugos is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience in the health-care and wellness industries. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who teaches screenwriting and film production classes throughout New England. Dlugos holds a master's degree in dietetics.