Reduce Sodium for Good Health
1. Cook Often
Time-Saving Tip: If cooking every night sounds tiring, make big batches of dried beans, marinara, or full recipes on weekends. Portion into small batches and freeze until needed. Use our Get Cooking Guide (March’s Healthy Habit) to help get started.
2. Pair Takeout with Fresh
Restaurant Tip: If eating out, split an entrée to cut sodium in half. Order side salads and steamed veggies sans salt to round out the meal.
3. Practice the Incremental Approach
Kitchen tip: Measure out all the salt called for in a recipe. Put 25 percent of it back in the salt shaker and cook with the remaining 75 percent. Do this for two weeks. Then cut back again.
4. Label It Low
Shopping tip: For the biggest impact, look for lower sodium versions of products you eat frequently. The top ten sodium sources for most Americans are meat pizza, white bread, processed cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti with sauce, ham, ketchup, cooked rice, white rolls, and flour tortillas.
5. Take Salt-free Shortcuts
Kitchen tip: Toast dried herbs and spices in a small amount of oil to add underlying flavor to any dish. Say you’re making chili. Toast the chili powder, oregano, and cumin in oil so that the oil can carry flavor into the salt-free beans and tomatoes.
6. Ratchet Up Fruits & Veggies
7. Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Kitchen tip: Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard for a low-fat vinaigrette. Optional add-ins: dried herbs, chopped shallots, lemon zest, fresh ground pepper. See how step-by-step in Making a Basic Vinaigrette.
8. Ease up on Salty Condiments
Kitchen tips: Try replacing ketchup with a fresh homemade salsa. Chop roasted bell peppers, drizzle with olive oil and pepper, and use as a relish for burgers or fish.
9. Salt with Style
Staging tip: Since the terms “low sodium” and “low salt” have come to mean deprivation for some folks, entice guests and family by describing a dish as cooked with “a touch of sea salt.”
10. Use Fresh Herbs & Spice Rubs
Kitchen tip: To make fresh herbs last a week or more, treat them like flowers. Snip stems and place in a glass filled with water.
BONUS: Rock the Citrus
Kitchen tip: When zesting oranges, lemon, and limes, opt for organic varieties since their peels are free of waxes and chemicals.