Monday, October 24, 2011

Sodium Smarty

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sunkist S’alternative for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

A few years ago my then fiancé and I set out to save money for our wedding and one of the easiest ways for us to do this was to cook meals at home instead of eating out all the time.  After about 2 weeks of home cooked meals we needed a little splurge and went out to eat.  We were so excited to eat out, each one carefully looking over the menu in a way we rarely did before to make our selections.  Once we did and our meals came out we were both surprised and disappointed at how salty the food tasted.  Even desert had tons of salt!  This was a turning point in our lives as far as limiting our sodium intake.


I recently took the  Sunkist Sodium Quiz to test my knowledge of sodium intake and what do you know, I’m a sodium smarty. The quiz asks various questions testing your knowledge about sodium: how much is the recommended daily amount, where the majority of it is found in our diets, etc.
Here are my results:

Sunkist®  has recently developed a program they call Sunkist S’alternative,  an all-natural way to flavor food, boost potassium intake and cut down on sodium using Sunkist® lemons as an alternative to salt. A fresh squeeze of a Sunkist® lemon is a fast, easy and delicious way to enhance the natural flavor of food without exceeding your daily sodium limit! Lemons taste good on just about everything – seafood, chicken, pasta, salad.  It’s a great alternative to high sodium spices.

In fact, Sunkist® created a great paella dish I can’t wait to try. I know my Spanish husband would love to see me whip up a batch of this for dinner.  Here is the recipe:

Lemon Seafood Paella
  • 1-32 oz can low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1lb. of firm, fresh pieces of whitefish such as tilapia, bass, halibut and swordfish, cut into 16-21 pieces
  • 1lb. or 16-21 mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1lb. or 16-21 medium sized clams, rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Sunkist®lemons, zest and juice
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups uncooked short-grain rice such as Valencian, Arborio, or Calrose
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1-8oz jar of sliced, roasted red peppers

Instructions: (Makes 8 servings)
  • To prepare broth, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • To prepare paella, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish pieces to pan and sauté 1 minute. Remove fish from pan, reserve and keep warm. Add onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add rice and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, bring to a low boil and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the peas and red pepper slices. Add mussels and clams to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in the reserved fish and chopped parsley and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and check for seasoning. Cover with a towel and let stand 10 minutes before stirring.
Sunkist S'alternativ#3C3C25.doc

Tips to Reduce Sodium
Most of the sodium in the typical American diet (75%) comes from processed and restaurant foods. Here are a few tips to help you and your family reduce sodium by consuming more fresh foods like Sunkist®lemons and other fresh Sunkist citrus!
  • Plan meals carefully. If a high sodium food is selected, choose your other menu items from lower sodium groups.
  • Read labels of packaged or prepared food products for the sodium content. Look for items “without added salt.”
  • Skip the salt in all cooking and food preparation by serving extra Sunkist lemon wedges and herb mixtures for individual seasoning.
  • Check the sodium content of the drinking water in your area with your local Health Department. If you are on a lower sodium restricted diet, do not drink the water if it has been treated with a water-softening agent.
  • When eating away from home, order freshly cooked turkey or chicken versus pressed meat. Turkey rolls and other pre-cooked poultry meats contain much higher sodium content than freshly cooked poultry.
  • As you reduce your sodium intake, your taste buds will adjust, allowing you to enjoy the true flavors of food that salt often masks. (This is exactly what happened to us)
Check out the Sunkist® Facebook page and their website.  Once you’ve taken the quiz come back to my blog and post your scores.  I’m curious to see if other people have had the same experiences I’ve had.  Also feel free to post any great lemony recipes that you have. 

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