Hey Heidi! Low-sodium options when dining out

6:50 AM, Mar 17, 2011   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

St. Louis (KSDK) --
Grab any food item these days and look at the sodium content and it might surprise you.

"It's amazing and I was like oh my gosh we even have to buy special chicken," explains Ann Marie Lemcke, owner of The Art of Entertaining.

It's a lesson she learned rather quickly when a regular customer requested low sodium meals.

"I have to tell you when I was first asked to do it by one of our customers I thought well it won't taste like anything, that's a horrible response from me," Lemcke adds.

So, she also learned to be more creative.

"First of all, fresh spices are the best: the cilantro, fresh basil. We use a lot of fruits, a lot of vegetables," Lemcke says.

It's those fruits and vegetables that Emily Bailey, a registered dietician with Nutriformance, says you should order when you're dining out.

"Well, first we under estimate the fact that all of these food items have sodium in them. Even something as simple as the tortilla that a wrap is coming in that tortilla is going to have higher sodium than you'd expect," Baily explains.

She also suggests asking a lot of questions.

"If you're asking for a grilled chicken breast, roasted vegetable ask what they are marinated, or roasted, or basted in," Bailey suggests.

But apparently there's something to remember.

"Your chain restaurants unfortunately have more of your pre-packaged, pre-prepared items so they're going to be higher in sodium from the get go," Bailey cautions.

NewsChannel 5's Heidi Glaus found healthydiningfinder.com, which has a sodium savvy section and lists several menu items from Red Lobster, Longhorn, Olive Garden, Elephant Bar and even IHOP. So you'll have to do a little planning, but it is possible to dine out on a low-sodium diet.


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