Processed foods are convenient, but they can also come with astronomically high sodium content. You may be watching your sodium intake for a variety of health issues, or perhaps you simply cannot stand the taste of overly salty foods. Whatever your reason, you have several options for reducing the amount of sodium you are eating, even if you did not prepare the food yourself. It is possible to meet your sodium intake target without sacrificing the convenience of enjoying a variety of processed foods.
Rinse canned foods. Many canned foods, such as beans or meats, come in a preservative liquid that is loaded with salt. You can get rid of some of the salt by pouring the food into a sieve and gently running water over the food.
Remove breading. Often, much of the salt of breaded foods is contained within the breading itself. Remove the breading after the food is thawed or after cooking to reduce the salt content. After removing the breading, use a salt substitute to add some flavor back.
Soak foods, such as meats, that are salt cured. Foods that are salt cured are preserved with salt and often soaked thoroughly with the salty preservative solution. Thus, rinsing may not be adequate to remove the excess salt. Certain types of cured meat, like ham, for example, may be gently rubbed to remove the sodium-rich coating.
Dilute liquids. If you are trying to reduce the sodium content of a processed soup, try mixing the amount of soup that fits into your particular sodium needs with water or milk, which is low in sodium. Adding a variety of herbs and spices, or using a salt substitute, will ensure you are not diluting the taste of the soup.
Reduce the sodium content of the entire meal. If you cannot find a way to reduce the salt of a particular food, perhaps because it is already cooked, you can still keep your sodium intake for the meal down. Cut the portion size of the high-sodium food and pair it with low-sodium foods. See the Resources Section for a list of foods that are low in sodium.