Lena of LMC In the World: Would love to hear your thoughts on the new bill in New York banning salt from restaurants. Just heard about it and immediately wondered “I wonder what Nicole thinks of this” :).
Prevention RD: I’m so flattered, Lena 😉 Brooklyn democrat Felix Ortiz did propose salt being banned from food preparation within every restaurant in the state of New York and violations to be ticketed a $1,000 fine for a single violation. The bill reads, “No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises.”
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is considering a request for government intervention to regulate the salt content of food. This similar bill submitted by the New York City Health Department 2 months ago, requesting a goal of reducing salt intake by 20% over the next 5 years.
After reading MSNBC’s article, I love that they addressed the real issue at hand: most of the salt (over 75%) American’s consume is found IN foods, and not put ON foods by the consumer. And simply, American’s eat far, far too much salt. The MSNBC article stated, “A recent analysis showed that for every gram of salt cut, as many as 250,000 cases of heart disease and 200,000 deaths could be prevented over a decade.” Certainly some motivation to cut the salt right there, eh?
Opposition to these bills supports the campaign “My Food, My Choice”. Consumers should take initiative in their health care and well-being, but the issue is…they don’t. And therefore, our healthcare costs are continuing to rise at obscene rates.
And for me? I actually DO oppose the bill suggesting a ban on salt. I cook with salt. Most of my recipes contain salt. Salt is a natural preservative which can brighten the colors of foods and facilitates pH balance in foods. Salt changes the texture and consistency of baked goods, and obviously adds flavor.
Chefs in New York strongly oppose this bill, and I understand why. The issue, however, remains the exorbitant amount of sodium in restaurant-prepared foods. Due to the bulk and pace at which restaurants must turn out food, many of their ingredients are likely processed and heavily preserved…cutting corners on time and prep-work wherever possible. Maybe the issue goes back to the ingredients – your food is only as good (or as healthy) as the ingredients you use to make it.
There are many ways to get food to be as flavorful and rich, and that need not constitute salt and salt-containing products. Fresh herbs, spices, and blended ingredients can be used to create a most desirable dish. Restaurants may be looking at creating their own red sauces and ingredients from scratch, such as tomato sauce which contains 360 milligrams of sodium in 1/4th cup!
Consumers are not accountable in addressing their health and diet, even when nutrition information is readily available. And restaurant menu items contain far too much salt. The happy medium: reduce the salt, help the consumer help themselves, and continue to educate, educate, educate!
Salt isn’t the problem, WE are the problem. And the excessive salt, too. 😉
Blue Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Buffalo Sauce adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp 2% reduced-fat milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, divided
6 Tbsp finely chopped and drained roasted red peppers
2 tsp water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine first 4 ingreidents in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff cheese mixture evenly into pockets.
Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Place panko in a shallow dish. Roll chicken breast in flour, then egg mixture, and lastly in the panko to cover. Repeat for each breast.
Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of Smart Balance/Butter Blend; swirl until butter melts. Arrange chicken in pan; cook 4 minutes of until lightly browned. Turn chicken over; place skillet in over. Bake at 350º F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn broiler to 450º F and broil for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
While chicken bakes, combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of Smart Balance/Butter Blend, bell peppers, water, Worcestershire, and garlic in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in hot sauce. Serve sauce with chicken.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition Information (per serving): 392 calories; 12.9 g. fat (6.7 g. saturated fat, 3.4 g. monounsaturated fat, 1 g. polyunsaturated fat); 47.4 g. protein; 18.5 g. carbohydrate; 1.1 g. fiber; 175 mg. cholesterol; 2.3 mg. iron; 421 mg. sodium; 120 mg. calcium
Result: THUMBS UP from Mr. Prevention and I! Sooo good! I wasn’t so sure about the sauce, but it was wonderful! 🙂 You know us…we love all things buffalo chicken-like! 😉
Today’s NNM Topic: Hypertension (all too appropriate!)
Hypertension and high blood pressure are associated with stroke (3rd leading cause of death in the US), cardiovascular disease, and renal disease. A healthy blood pressure is 140/90 mm HG or lower (according to the ADA’s Manual of Clinical Dietetics), however some sources state “normal blood pressure” is less than 120/80 mg Hg.
A high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy is recommended. Reducing saturated and trans fats have been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Sodium (salt) is also limited to 1,500 milligrams a day for persons with hypertension or at risk for hypertension. Risk factors for high blood pressure include: age, race (African American), family history, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive sodium intake, low potassium intake, low vitamin D intake, excessive alcohol intake, and stress.
Up Tomorrow: Garden updates! But I’ll tell you this….lots is growing! Indoors AND out! 😀
Question: What do YOU think about this salt ban? Is it realistic to “ban” all salt used in restaurant food preparation and cooking? Do you feel it is the obligation and right of the US government to impose nutritional standards among US citizens? Weigh in!
Salt lover (in moderation…),