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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Bread: A Source of Sodium?

Posted by Jenna Smith -

I recently read an article in the Washington Post, stating that bread is the number one source of sodium in the American diet. To most people, that's surprising news! How can bread account for more of our sodium intake than potato chips? After all, bread isn't exactly what we think of as being a salty food. But the fact is, we tend to eat a LOT of bread...and therefore, the sodium adds up very quickly! High intakes of sodium can increase blood pressure and increase the risk for heart disease. With this in mind, maybe we should take a closer look at what we are eating.

It can be easy to eat a lot of bread in a day without even thinking anything of it: 2 slices of toast in the morning, a 6 inch or foot long sub sandwich for lunch (both are well more than just 2 servings of bread!), and a hamburger on a bun for dinner. That's about 8 to 10 servings of bread. Yes, this does satisfy the dietary guidelines of eating about 6-8 ounces of grains each day. However, it's best to eat a variety. Here are some healthy tips to still meet the dietary requirements for grains without overloading on sodium:

  • Try shredded wheat cereal for breakfast, which is a low sodium choice.
  • Fix a bowl of oatmeal. Unless you get the single serving flavored packets, oatmeal is sodium free!
  • Instead of having bread or a roll as a side dish, fix a whole grain side, such as brown rice or quinoa, which are naturally low in sodium.
  • When you are buying bread, look for those whole grain choices like whole wheat bread. They may not be any lower in sodium, but you at least get in your whole grains.
  • Read the labels and compare, compare, compare!

Try this low sodium version of pumpkin bread. Without added salt, the sodium that is in this bread mainly comes from baking soda. Just 1 teaspoon of baking soda yields 1260 milligrams of sodium! But baking soda is needed for leaving. Likewise, salt is needed in yeast bread recipes and should not be omitted or decreased.

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked)

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup plain low fat yogurt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup raisins

  1. In larger mixing bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, oil, and yogurt.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon; add to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moistened.
  3. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or two mini-loaf pans.
  5. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for about 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. For mini-loaves, check for doneness after 50 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. Makes 24 slices

Nutrition Information per serving:60 calories, 1.5 grams total fat (0 grams saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 1 gram protein

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