Not Hiding the Salt, But Lowering It

Happy New Year, everyone!

The past few months have been very busy for us here at CoreLife Eatery! We’ve opened eateries in a number of new neighborhoods and have continued to connect with an ever-increasing audience interested in eating for performance and health.

With 2016 behind us, and a new year driving us forward, we want to address a few things we did last year to improve the CoreLife Eatery experience.

Okay, let’s talk sodium.

Over the course of the year, we received many comments on the amount of sodium listed in some of our menu items. Most were interested in how we calculated those values. Some had a feeling of “How dare you call yourself a healthy place to eat when you have high sodium levels in some of your foods!?”

The reality is: we did have some room to improve when it came to the sodium levels in our foods. The good news is, it’s literally in our hands as we are the only ones adding salt. We make our broths, dressings, sauces, etc. from scratch every day, so if there is salt in a menu item, we put it there, and we can take it out (or at least lower it).

When we first developed the recipes for the original CoreLife Eatery, we did so by using taste as our guide. Let’s face it, healthy food that doesn’t taste good just doesn’t make its way into our lives long term. Where we did add salt, we did so sparingly and looked to find the right balance of saltiness. When we submitted our recipes for nutritional analysis, we were somewhat shocked to see some of our bowls with numbers that looked like…“gotchas!”

Sodium content for our chicken bone broth and vegetable broth were particularly a stand out at over 1000 mg per serving. In particular, what was driving that high sodium number was the kosher salt we were adding to taste. We only add salt to those recipes after the long simmering stage is complete and it was shocking in that what seemed like a relatively small amount of salt could cause such numbers.

We make our broths in large 9-gallon batches. Our original recipes called for adding just 3/4 cup of kosher salt to that batch of broth. What we weren’t considering were the overall portion sizes. Given the amount of broth we add to each bowl, that drove the total bowl sodium level to a number over 1000 mg per bowl!

With a simple reduction to the amount of salt we add for taste, we’ve improved our sodium profile of our most popular broth bowls. We think you will find these to have great taste and great nutrition! If you think it needs more salt, we have that too, just grab one of our sea salt grinders and add as much as you would like to suit your taste.

If you’re looking beyond broths for “lower sodium” choices, here are a few tips:

  • Consider portion size – Our standard size bowls are substantial, generally 22 oz by weight. If that’s too much for a single meal, ask for it in a to-go bowl and take what you don’t eat with you for a second meal or snack. You can still eat it in our dining room and even get a real spoon!
  • Consider portion size again – We also offer a “side” size for all of our bowls, which are about half of the size of our standard bowls and half of the sodium, calories, etc. Any of our “side size” bowls can be purchased for just $4.95 per bowl. A great choice when “less is more.”
  • Be mindful of cheese/dairy – We love cheese and use it for taste and texture. Unfortunately, cheese tends to be a driver of sodium, so avoid items like our kale caesar chicken, which have generous amounts of cheese in the bowl as well as the dressing. This is a great choice for a “side size” bowl too.
  • Avoid these dressings – Blue cheese, caesar, and miso. While we love these dressings, we don’t recommend them if you are watching your salt intake. The natural ingredients in these dressings drive up the sodium content above the rest of our extensive dressing line-up.
  • Love these dressings –  Our thai cashew, lime cilantro, citrus poppyseed, cranberry vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette all have less than 50 mg per portion.
  • Bag the bacon – Even though it seems like everyone loves bacon, it doesn’t like us back. Even our “nitrate-free, uncured” bacon has just under 600 mg of sodium per ounce.
  • Apples to apples – One of the most frustrating things about managing sodium is that manufacturers and restaurants make it hard to compare and consider if a dish is healthy “by comparison.” The best way we have seen to make a comparison on salt is to calculate how much sodium (mg) is present per 100 g of the dish.

To compare how the sodium in our broth bowls compare to supermarket choices, here’s a brief breakdown:

Soup/Broth Bowl

Portion Size


Sodium per 100g (Comparison)

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle (Classic)

8 oz

890 mg

397 mg/100 g

Campbell’s Healthy Request Chicken Noodle

8 oz

410 mg

183 mg/100 g

Progresso Chicken Noodle

8 oz

690 mg

308 mg/100 g

Progresso Chicken Healthy Classics

8 oz

460 mg

205 mg/100 g

CoreLife Eatery Chicken & Wild Rice Bone Broth Bowl (Full Size)

22 oz

790 mg

128 mg/100 g

CoreLife Eatery Chicken & Wild Rice Bone Broth Bowl (Side Size)

11 oz

395 mg

128 mg/ 100 g

Panera Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup

8 oz

930 mg

415 mg / 100 g

CoreLife Eatery Spicy Ginger Steak and Rice Noodle Bone Broth

22 oz

890 mg

144 mg/ 100 g