Veggies are a mainstay of any healthy dinner, but if you're watching your sodium it pays to opt for fresh or frozen vegetables -- even if you plan to cook them before you dine. That's because whether you steam or sauté your fresh produce, you can control the introduction of salt or other sodium-rich seasonings -- which is exactly why you should steer clear of canned vegetables.
Preservatives, seasonings and salt are liberally added to the kind of produce you'll find in a tin, and cause the sodium content to skyrocket. One cup of canned corn has 384 milligrams sodium, while an ear of corn has a measly 13 milligrams.
Remember, though, just because a vegetable is fresh or frozen doesn't necessarily put in on the menu. A 3.5-ounce serving of raw celery has about 130 milligrams of sodium, and that could really add up over time. Compare that to broccoli's modest 10 milligrams of sodium and it's easy to see which one makes it to the dinner plate. Like corn, fresh asparagus, green beans and potatoes have so little sodium, they're classified as sodium-free.
When it comes to cooking up main dish meats, becoming a food detective is even more important. We'll explain why, next.