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Revisiting Sodium

Several months back we posted about how difficult it is to limit one's sodium intake. One of our readers requested some healthy, low-sodium alternatives to the meals described.

Well today, perusing our local paper's Food Section, I came across a recipe that seems like a good fit for athletic-minded readers. It's moderate on the sodium content, super easy to prepare, decent on protein and heavy on carbs--which seems appropriate given the number of marathons coming up. "Rainbow Beans Over Rice" is worth considering for your pre-race meal.

First, the key to this recipe is selecting NO-Salt added products. Additionally I learned that rinsing canned beans reduces the sodium by 40%--not to mention it also reduces the gas effect of beans too!

Keep in mind that all processed foods will up the sodium levels versus cooking from scratch. However, there is value to the convenience of using canned products and other ready to go ingredients. Check labels. The sodium content varies significantly across brands.

Here's the recipe for Rainbow Beans Over Rice (found in today's San Diego Union Tribune):

** For those who don't want to bother with cooking long grain rice, Trader Joe's sells organic brown rice that you can microwave in 3 minutes. It's fabulous. Each pouch contains 2 Cups of rice. Each cup packs 160 calories, 4 grams protein, 2.5 grams fiber and 34 grams of carbs. NO sodium.

4 servings

1 cup long-grain rice

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 large onion (for about 1 cup chopped)

1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added red beans

1 can (151/2 ounces) no-salt-added white beans

1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added black beans

1 can (141/2 ounces) no-salt-added chopped tomatoes

1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels

1 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Shredded cheddar cheese, optional topping

Place 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch, extra-deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. While the onion cooks, drain the three cans of beans in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake gently to drain completely.

Add the tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce to the onion. Add the drained beans. Add the corn, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and sugar, and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is done.

Spoon the cooked rice into shallow bowls and top with the bean mixture. Top with shredded cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Use no-salt-added products everywhere you can in this recipe. You may, of course, substitute regular products. Depending on the brand, the canned weight of beans may range from 141/2 ounces to 151/2 ounces. As long as each can is in this range, the exact weight won't matter.

Start to finish: 20 minutes


Per serving: 517 calories (6 percent from fat), 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 19 g protein, 101 g carbohydrates, 18 g dietary fiber, 503 mg sodium.

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Re High Energy Foodshake for

Re High Energy Foodshake for Athletes

This is a South African product and is ideal for the meal before a race or any activity for that matter. It comes in a 100gram serving and mixes easily with water, the taste is great and very easy to digest even on the way to the race. No need to get up early for a meal.
Supplies 60 grams of carbohydrate, 20 something grams of really good protein and a small amout of fat. The salt level is moderate.
When you mix with 400ml water,it makes a 500ml complete meal. It can also be used as a meal during ultra marathons.

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