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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Environmental Nutrition

Simmer sauces and healthy eating: Take note of the sodium content

Be sure to check the total sodium content on package labels when selecting a simmer sauce. (

How often does dinner time roll around ,and you’d rather do anything but cook? Eating out or doing takeout can be costly and often, lacking in healthy choices.

Simmer sauces to the rescue!

Simmer sauces basically have all of the measuring and mixing done for you, plus an assortment of spices you might not have in your pantry for some delicious flavor. The task of pouring it into a pot with some protein and maybe veggies provided by you, and, boom, dinner is almost ready.

But how are simmer sauces for your health? Fortunately, many can fit quite nicely into a nutritious eating plan.

In general, the most important nutrient to consider is the sodium content. When comparing sodium, it’s important to think about how a particular food fits into your entire day. A simmer sauce makes up a very small part of one of your daily meals. So the sodium content should also make up a very small part of your daily sodium intake.

There are quite a few options, with a variety of flavor profiles, that fit the bill, including Frontera Garlic Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Sauce, Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce and Patak’s Tandoori Chicken Simmer Sauce.

Consider these ideas when a simmer sauce is on your weekly menu:

  • “Lean” in — Though simmer sauces often specify which type of protein to use, you can swap in any protein you want. Aim for lean skinless chicken, lean beef or plant-based meat alternatives.
  • Veggie boost — Some simmer sauces say to add veggies. But, even with those that don’t, you still can add leftover, frozen, canned or steamed veggies. This will not only boost the fiber and nutrients but also will help stretch the meal.
  • Size counts — The sauce serving size ranges from two tablespoons to half a cup. Be aware of how much you are consuming so you can get an accurate idea of the nutrients you’re getting.

Environmental Nutrition is an independent newsletter written by experts on health and nutrition.

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