Many of us are trying to reduce the amount of sodium in our diets. In fact, the U.S. dietary recommendation is not to consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. High sodium diets can be linked to greater risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It’s important to remember that many pre-packaged foods contain hidden sodium so your best bet is to prepare your own side dishes and entrees whenever possible in order to control your sodium intake.
If you tend to rely on the salt shaker for flavor, I’ve got some tips to make this transition easier. First off, I’m not going to lie–for the first week or so, you’re going to have a bit of an adjustment. What you don’t realize is you’re basically used to the flavor of salt–not so much the flavor of the different foods you’re eating, but the salt you’re putting on them. I think after you’re over the initial hump, you’ll be surprised at the variety of flavors different foods have when they aren’t masked by the salt shaker. That said, here are ways to add flavor and bring out the natural flavors of your food:
- Citrus Fruit – Lemon and lime juice and/or zest can be used in place of salt to season chicken and seafood dishes or vegetables.
- Herbs – Basil, oregano, cilantro, thyme and dill are just a few herbs to consider.
- Spices – Think cumin, chili powder, ginger or curry powder. These flavors will make you forget about the salt.
- Garlic and Onion – Sauteed garlic and onion will add even more flavor to your dishes without the sodium.
- Cooking Methods – Roasting and grilling are terrific ways to bring out the flavor of foods. Try throwing some chicken on the grill after marinating in a bit of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and herbs. Do the same with some veggies!
Fruits & Veggies–More Matters even has a few featured health meals that are low in sodium, 480 mg of sodium or less per serving. Pesto Chicken Vegetable Kebabs features chicken and veggies like zucchini and bell peppers over brown rice. Grilled Steak & Peppers Salad w/Pears is a perfect summer entrée. Vidalia Onion & Tomato Salad w/Grilled Tuna is another warm weather dish, ideal for a hearty lunch or light dinner. With a few changes, you can significantly reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, making it healthier and more flavorful!