17 Ways to Cut the Salt!

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I’m just gonna put this right out there….I love salt!  It’s so good.  It’s one of my “bad” nutrition habits – a vice if you will – that is really hard for me to give up.  I can go without an ice cream cone.  I’ll pass over those homemade brownies at the office.  I’ll even split entrees at restaurants on occasion.  Simple.  But cut down on the salt?  Eh…  Roasted brussel sprouts seem to scream for it.  Pasta always gets a sprinkle here and there.  There’s a little salt pig right by the stove.  And a salt grinder right on my kitchen table!  I can’t seem to get away from it!

But…I really do actually need to try (hard) to work on cutting down on my sodium intake.  No matter if you’re big or small, excess sodium consumption over the years can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension).  The Silent Killer!  It’s been given that wonderful name because hypertension doesn’t really have any outward symptoms.  Half the time, people don’t even realize they have it.  That is, until something bad happens.  Like a stroke.  Or a heart attack.  Hypertension takes over 400,000 lives every year in the US.  Pretty sure that’s not worth the added sprinkle of salt on that pasta dish of mine.

Salt2 Currently the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we ingest no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily.  That’s about a teaspoon of salt a day.  Not much.  Now, of course, the CDC, National Institute of Medicine and few others are thinking we should change this daily recommendation to no more than 1,500 mg of salt a day.  Lord help me….less than a teaspoon a day.  What’s a home cook to do?  Well, we can try these 17 tricky ways to cut the salt out of your diet!  I’ve tried many of these already and they’re great!

17 Ways to Cut the Salt:

  1. Always choose low-sodium or no salt added options in purchased foods.
  2. Try using a salt substitute like NO-SALT, Nu Salt or Morton’s Salt Substitute.
  3. Prepare packaged snacks at home – like roasted nuts.
  4. Consume little to no processed meats and cheeses.
  5. Choose “old fashioned” or regular instead of “instant” when purchasing oatmeal or grits
  6. Buy fresh or frozen produce instead of canned.
  7. Make soups at home instead of buying the canned variety.
  8. Try out salt-free seasoning blends like Mrs. Dash.
  9. Ditch the salted butter and go for the unsalted kind.
  10. Use fresh or dried herbs to boost flavor.
  11. Add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to brighten up and make flavors pop in your dishes.
  12. Toast spices – this can deepen the flavor of the spices and your meal.
  13. Watch out for fat-free dressings and marinades – when the manufacturers take out the fat, they usually replace it with salt and sugar.
  14. Try to avoid foods prepared in a brine – like pickles, olives or sauerkraut.
  15. Use condiments in moderation.  Most can be pretty high in salt, especially BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, salsa, tomato sauce and marinades.
  16. Choose to either cook with salt and not add it at the table OR don’t cook with salt and sprinkle a little on before you eat, but not both.
  17. Watch out for baked goods.  Baking soda and baking powder both contain sodium and can result in a high amount of sodium in your favorite breads, pastries and other bakery items.

You tell me!  What’s your favorite way to reduce salt in your diet?  Have you tried a salt substitute before?  What foods surprise you with a high amount of sodium?

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