Tips for Reducing Salt in Your Diet

Posted on: March 14, 2014

Spice it Up and Toss the Salt

Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN

In today’s food culture, most of us are consuming far too much sodium. The current recommendation for sodium according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is less than 2,300 milligrams per day. That’s equivalent to about the size of one teaspoon. The recommendation for African Americans, individuals age 51 and older and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease is no more than 1,500 milligrams each day.

Yes, it’s true that we do need sodium in our body for normal functions, such as maintaining blood pressure. However, it’s when our sodium intake skyrockets that it can become dangerous causing hypertension (high blood pressure), or fluid retention in people with certain medical conditions, but controlling the amount in your diet may be easier than you think. Here are some simple tips to keep your sodium intake in check:

  1. Focus on Fresh. Most foods in the fresh, original form are going to be low in sodium. This includes the gamut of fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy. Try to include more of these options in your daily meal plan.
  1. Cook at Home. While eating out can be a night-off from cooking, it can also mean consuming too much salt. When you are in control of your own meals, it’s easy to omit salt from cooking. For example, try not to add salt to a pot of boiling water. Another good way of reducing sodium is to rinse canned vegetables- it can bring the sodium level down about 40%!
  1. Spice it Up. In lieu of using salt, try making your own salt-free seasonings with fresh or dried herbs and spices. These can taste just as flavorful- if not more! Most condiments also contain lots of sodium so be wary when loading up on foods like soy sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings.
  1. Pass on Processed Foods. Processed foods are notorious for being high in sodium. These foods should only be consumed in small quantities- especially deli or lunch means, ready-to-eat or convenience foods, canned or frozen foods, and cured meats such as bacon, sausage, or hot dogs.
  1. Read the Label. Look for foods labeled “low-sodium,” “reduced-sodium,” or “no salt added.” These options will be better alternatives compared to the real deal. Be sure to read how many servings the sodium content is for and adjust the amount based on how many servings you are consuming. Many snack foods are laden with sodium – a good rule of thumb is to look for snacks with 150mg or less of sodium per serving.

Here are some tasty recipes that are low in sodium for you to enjoy!

Salmon with Tomato-Basil Salsa
Courtesy of  www.Heart.org

Fresh salsa is a great pairing with the omega-rich salmon
(Serves 4)

Ingredients                                        

Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 3 oz. each), rinsed and patted dry
3 tbsp. light mayonnaise
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
Salsa:
6 oz. grape tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil
1 – 1 ¼ oz. sweet onion
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Lightly spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place the fish in the pan.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining salmon ingredients. Lightly spread on each fillet.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

5. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes, basil, and onion. Put in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, stirring gently to combine.

6. Spoon over or beside the cooked fish. Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3 oz. salmon and ¼ cup salsa

Calories 200
Protein 26g
Fat 8.5g
Sat Fat 1.5g
Carbohydrates 5g
Fiber 1g
Sodium 175mg
Cholesterol 68mg

Lemon Green Beans with Parsley and Almonds
Courtesy of www.Heart.org

The lively taste of lemon and the crunch of almonds are a great accent to the fresh green beans.

Ingredients                                        

8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 ½ – 2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 tbsp. sliced almonds, dry-roasted
1 tbsp. finely snipped fresh parsley
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. pepper

Method

1. In a large saucepan, steam the beans for 10 minutes, or until tender-crisp.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl.

3. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients. Stir gently to coat. Serve immediately for the best texture.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: ½ cup

Calories 35
Protein 2g
Fat 1.5g
Sat Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 5g
Fiber 2g
Sodium 4mg
Cholesterol 0mg

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