Monday, March 9, 2009

Low Sodium Canned Tuna & Canned Beans

I was shopping at my neighborhood Safeway supermarket the other day and came across a couple of interesting low sodium products. I have no idea how I ended up in the canned tuna section, but I'm glad I did. I discovered that both StarKist and BumbleBee are producing "Very Low Sodium" canned tuna. They both come in slightly smaller cans: BumbleBee's can is 5 oz. while StarKist's is 4.5 oz. (they probably don't want you to realize that you're paying a little extra for less salt). The good news is that the sodium content is considerably reduced. Regular tuna can range from 180 mg. sodium to as high as 250 mg. for 2 oz. The StarKist Very Low Sodium and the BumbleBee Very Low Sodium are only 35 mg. sodium for 2 oz. That's quite a difference from the regular stuff! And the really good news is that I can get it at my local Safeway. In the past, I've found no-salt-added canned tuna at Trader Joe's, and, of course, I can order it online. But having a truly low sodium alternative available in a neighborhood store is a great boon.

While at Safeway, I decided to pick up a couple of cans of beans. I like to have them around for impromptu salads and other dishes. S & W makes "50% Less Sodium" canned kidney, garbanzo, and black beans. I can find them at all my local grocery stores. Eden makes several "No Salt Added" canned beans including black, garbanzo, pinto, navy, black eyed peas,and kidney. My local Safeway and Raley's (a northern California chain) carry a few of the Eden bean products. I automatically reached for the S & W lower sodium beans, but for some reason decided to check out the other brands again too.

Most regular canned beans run anywhere from 400 - 500 mg. sodium per half cup. The S & W lower sodium beans range about 240 mg. per half cup. As I was checking labels, I stumbled across Safeway's store version of organic canned vegetables, "O" Organics. Kidney, pinto, black, and garbanzo beans were available and their sodium content was about 120 - 130 mg. per half cup. Not bad. I decided to give them all a try.


So, what's the point of all this? The lesson I learned is ABC -- to  Always Be Checking! Supermarkets try out new products all the time. Manufacturers revamp their products all the time too. Sometimes the additions or changes are great, sodium wise. Sometimes they're a bust. But you need to keep on top of it. Next time you go grocery shopping, take the time to look for sodium reduced canned tuna. You just might find it. And check out the canned beans. You might find a surprise waiting for you.

And if you can't find something, talk to someone at your supermarket. Or write them. It's not as though low sodium products aren't needed. I read articles in newspapers and magazines all the time about my generation (the "Baby Boomers") aging and needing to cut salt consumption. There's a market out there for low sodium products. Remind your local supermarkets that there's a golden opportunity for them to make money by marketing to everyone out there with high blood pressure and other health problems. Money talks! (Sad but true)


OhioMom said...

Okay, now I really like the idea of low salt canned tuna .. the one thing I totally dislike about canned foods is that I can "taste" the salt, but then I am not a big salt fan. Thanks for posting this, I will definitely check my market out.

Anonymous said...

I eat beans at some point on a daily basis and have found that buying them in bags and soaking them (overnight and then cooking them the next morning...time depends on what type of beans you have) gets rid of all the sodium that they come with canned. They taste so much fresher and literally have a trace amount of sodium. They last 5 days or so in the fridge.