Question 1:  Grocery store popcorn                       OR                     Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken

Answer:  The chicken.  Rotisserie chicken is often injected with salt water to make it more flavorful; as a result, this chicken has around 320 milligrams (mg) of sodium, compared with 75 mg for the popcorn.  For a healthier meal, bake at home—but avoid buying chicken that’s been “enhanced” with broth, which boosts sodium levels.

Question 2:  Club Soda                                         OR                        Roasted Salted Almonds

Answer:  Many club sodas have 95 to 115 mg of sodium, versus 85 mg for the nuts.  The soda contains baking soda and table salt, explains nutritionist Jennifer Glockner, creator of the e-book series Smartee Plate.  Glockner suggests that you swap out club soda for a sparkling water with only 1 mg of sodium per ounce.

Question 3:  Prego Basil Pesto Italian Sauce       OR            Prego Tomato Basil Garlic Italian Sauce

Answer:  The pesto has more than twice the sodium (590 mg vs 210 mg), says Allison Knott, a registered dietitian in New York City.  “If you’re looking for a lower-sodium sauce, choose tomato based. Add cooked vegetables to further lower sodium per serving.”

Question 4:  Subway Oven Roasted Chicken        OR                        Subway 6-inch Oven Roasted

                       Breast on Spinach Wrap                                                   Chicken Sandwich

Answer:  The wrap—with 1,350 mg of sodium. “Much of the sodium difference is attributed to the difference in bread,” Knott observes.  The spinach wrap alone has 780 mg of sodium—more than the amount in the entire chicken sandwich (560 mg).

By Lisa Haney for AARP The Magazine, February/March 2020