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People want to eat heart-healthy, but Wal-Mart shoppers spend about 19 minutes buying groceries, added Tres Bailey of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which told its vendors to start cutting sodium.
That's not a lot of time for label-reading to find hidden sodium, especially in foods where it's unexpected -- like salad dressings that can harbor more than 130 milligrams per tablespoon.
Depending on your choices, Thanksgiving dinner alone can pass 2,000 milligrams: About 600 per serving from stuffing mix, another 270 from gravy. The salt water-added turkey can bring another 320, double that if you saved time and bought it fully-cooked. Use canned beans in the green bean casserole and add another 350. A small dinner roll adds 130. A piece of pumpkin pie could bring as much as 350.
How to cut back? Thayer, the dietitian, has some tips for Thanksgiving and beyond:
All bread contains sodium, but starting with a homemade corn bread for stuffing could help cut a few hundred milligrams.
Use low-sodium broth for the gravy, and choose low-sodium soups whenever possible.
Try onion, garlic and a variety of other herbs in place of salt. Lemon and other citrus also can stand in for salt in some foods.
Check your spice bottles. Combination products, such as those labeled poultry seasoning, can contain salt.
Fresh or frozen vegetables have little if any sodium, unless you choose the frozen kind with an added sauce.
People tend to heavily salt mashed potatoes, while sweet potatoes, even dressed up as a souffle, contain very little sodium.
Going suddenly low-salt can startle your palate, "but it adjusts much quicker than I think most people realize," Thayer says.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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