Eating for Life

Eating for Life | No-salt pretzels reduce sodium in chicken piccata dish

Is a pretzel still a pretzel if you take away the salt?

Pretzels are naturally fat-free, so it might be tempting to ignore those pesky white flakes. Unfortunately, a serving of fat-free pretzels may contain up to 400 milligrams of sodium.

The National Institutes of Health strongly advises average Americans younger than 50 to reduce their sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams, or no more than a teaspoon a day. It all adds up pretty fast, so unsalted pretzels can be a good option, as long as you keep in mind that they are not actually sodium-free. Instead, products labeled “unsalted” whittle the sodium content down to 75 to 100 milligrams per serving.

All this talk of pretzels soon had us considering how to navigate around breading, another high-sodium product.

The Star’s

Chicken Pretzel Piccata

a remake of a classic Italian dish, swaps the veal for chicken and coats the meat with the crumbs of unsalted pretzels. We also tweaked the high-calorie sauce made from the pan drippings. Instead of using the leftover fat, the sauce incorporates fat-free evaporated milk, low-sodium chicken broth, lemon juice and white wine.

• Shopping tip:

Synder’s of Hanover unsalted pretzels contain 110 calories per serving and 75 milligrams of sodium.

We analyzed the recipe using both unsalted and salted pretzels; none of the other nutritional values changed, but the amount of sodium per serving doubled.

• Serving suggestion:

This dish is great served with a small portion of whole-wheat spaghetti.

Chicken Pretzel Piccata