Does a CHF Friendly Jarred Tomato Sauce Exist?
Are you craving spaghetti but worried that tomato sauce contains too much sodium?
It can but not always!
Making tomato sauce, or gravy, as some Italians call it, homemade is the best way to guarantee a low sodium product. That being said, you don’t always have time to make it from scratch and neither do I. (I hope my Italian grandmas forgive me!) So, this is for those times when you just want to open up a jar and have a quick option.
I went to the grocery store, spent an hour turning jars around today, and did the work for you.
I compared several common brands, using the “traditional” or “tomato basil sauce” variety. The majority of these jarred sauces are widely available throughout the US. Be sure to read the labels carefully. And keep in mind that varieties of the same brand can have different levels of sodium, fats, and sugars. It can be easy to grab one flavor that looks good and forget that it may have twice as much sodium as another.
As a rule, I recommend avoiding meat and cheese containing tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is delicious on its own, and meat or cheese only adds sodium and fats, neither of which are good for your heart failure.
Sodium Levels in a Half Cup of Sauce
- Bertolli – – 520mg
- Classico Tomato Basil – – 410mg
- Good and Gather Heart Healthy* – – 360mg–pretty good but still not low in sodium
- Good and Gather Tomato Basil – – 420mg
- Great Value Tomato Basil** – – 420mg
- Newman’s Own – – 520mg
- Prego Traditional – – 480mg
- Prego Lower Sodium – – 360mg–pretty good but still not low in sodium
- Ragu Simply Traditional – – 460mg
- Rao’s – – 420mg
- Trader Joe’s No Salt Added – – 45mg—Now we’re talking!
- Trader Joe’s Traditional Marinara – – 530mg
- Vero Gusto Tomato Basil – – 430mg
- Victoria Low Sodium Marinara – – 120mg—a little more expensive but a great option!
THIS IS IMPORTANT!
While I was looking at these labels, I noticed that several brands had the serving size listed as ¼ cup. I adjusted this to make all serving sizes equal, but this is definitely something to watch out for. You always have to check the serving size.
There are few options out there that are truly low in sodium.
Most of the sauces out there, from the basic budget friendly sauces to the “designer” brands, are very high in sodium.
In fact, there was really wasn’t much difference at all.
The high end brands that cost upwards of ten dollars a jar, have similar sodium profiles to the less expensive brands.
Remember that food companies create products based on consumer taste and demand. And Americans clearly like salty things!
Heart healthy brands are lower but not “low” in sodium.
Both Prego and Ragu “heart healthy” brands still provide 360mg per half cup! The sodium is decreased but not enough to earn the “Low Sodium” label.
Canned Sauces were not reviewed.
I didn’t look at canned tomato sauce for this article because canned sauce is not “ready to eat” It has minimal flavoring and is generally used as a base for homemade sauce. Many of these canned tomato sauces have very low sodium, as low as 15mg per serving. They are an option if you are willing to doctor them up a bit.
I hope this blog helps you find a low sodium sauce or convinces you to make a big batch of homemade sauce. I make a LOT and freeze it in several containers. This way it’s ready and available when that spaghetti craving hits!
If you have found another great option, or have another prepared food you would like me to review, drop a line and let me know. And don’t forget to join me by subscribing to my free email list!
*Good and Gather is Target Store Brand
**Great Value is Walmart store brand