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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Friday, April 16, 2010

No-Salt Ketchup and Sloppy Joe’s

I’m not a huge ketchup fan so I hadn’t thought to taste the No Salt Added Ketchup by Heinz until now. I was testing a recipe for Sloppy Joe’s (see below) that uses 3/4-cup of ketchup for four servings so suddenly I was very motivated to purchase this product and give it whirl.

You see the sodium in regular ketchup is so high that just one tablespoon actually contains 8% of the daily value for sodium. Most of the people I know that are huge ketchup fans certainly use more than one tablespoon in a sitting.

Heinz No Salt Ketchup

How does it taste?
Pretty good. Heinz No Salt Added Ketchup is made with a salt substitute that contains potassium chloride (like most salt substitutes) so maybe that’s why it tastes better than you expect, especially when used in a recipe.

Plus one of the main flavors in ketchup is sugar and that’s still in there. There’s high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup (3rd and 4th ingredients listed on the ingredient label), just as it is on regular Heinz Ketchup. One tablespoon still contains 4 grams of sugars.

The sodium reduction is super impressive though as the sodium goes from around 190 milligrams per tablespoon to 5 measly milligrams (there is 170 milligrams of potassium per tablespoon). The No Salt Added Ketchup has 10 more calories per tablespoon than regular ketchup even though they have the same amount of sugar because it contains 2 more grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon (2 grams X 4 calories per gram = 8 calories).

What about the cost? The bottle is smaller and of course more expensive per ounce than traditional ketchup. My guess is it probably doesn’t go on sale that often either.

These days I’m trying to make as many meals as possible using ingredients I have on hand. You see, it stands to reason that the fewer trips I make to the store…the less money I tend to spend on groceries each week.

As long as you have a pound of ground sirloin in your refrigerator or freezer, Sloppy Joe’s are actually easy to make at home using ingredients you have on hand. Here’s the challenge though… the sodium is going to be high if you use regular ketchup, but you can try the no-salt version. The original recipe calls for a cup of ketchup; I’ve cut it down to 3/4 cup. I also cut the 1/4-cup of brown sugar called for in half and made it optional. There’s plenty of sweetness in the ketchup, so you won’t really miss the brown sugar.

Light Homemade Sloppy Joes


1 pound ground sirloin or super lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup ketchup (user lower sodium ketchup if available)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water or nonalcoholic beer
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (add more to taste if desired)
4 whole wheat or multigrain hamburger buns or rolls, toasted if desired
2 ounces shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese


1.    In large nonstick skillet, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper over medium heat.
2.    Stir in the ketchup, water, brown sugar (if desired), mustard, garlic powder, black pepper; mix thoroughly. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so.
3.    Spoon one-fourth of the sloppy Joe mixture over the bottom of a split bun. Sprinkle each with about 1/8 cup of shredded cheese and top with the other half of the bun.

Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches

Nutritional Analysis per sandwich:  365 calories, 31.5g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 3.7g monounsaturated fat, 1.5g polyunsaturated fat, 72mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 990mg sodium (490mg sodium if low-sodium ketchup is used). Calories from fat: 25 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .2 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.3 gram.

If you are a ketchup fan and you’ve tried this product, let us know what you thought about it! Share your comments on the Food and Cooking Exchange.

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 6:50 am

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