The FDA Dietary Guidelines for Sodium consumption for adults is no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and the American Heart Association states an "ideal" amount of sodium intake is no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Savvy Food Tips to Reduce Sodium Intake
- Ask your grocer if they have a low sodium shopping list available or a special section in the supermarket for low sodium items. This is one way to be a more savvy shopper.
- Read the nutrition facts label on those foods that have them. Check the amount of sodium in foods per serving and compare different options.
- Choose products with a sodium score of a 5% Daily Value (DV) or less. A sodium content of 20% DV or more is very unhealthy.
- Despite what many people think, most dietary sodium (over 70%) comes from eating packaged and prepared foods—not from table salt added to food when cooking or eating.
- Processed meats, poultry, and seafood – like deli meats, sausages, sardines, and tuna are high sodium items. Substitute low salt plant-based proteins including legumes, peas, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and dark leafy greens instead.
- Want to give recipes a Latin American twist? Make homemade salt-free adobo seasoning from Desiree, the creator of Rican Vegan. I use this seasoning to sprinkle on entrées before cooking. This is one fun way to spice up your food without having to use salt.
- For a salt-free homemade Italian seasoning blend experiment making this recipe from Brandi at the Vegan 8.
- Sprinkle on hot red pepper flakes or use Tabasco or other low salt hot pepper sauce to give your food a spicy kick.
- Ready-made salad dressings usually contain an unhealthy amount of sodium. One of my favorite salt free salad dressings is Creamy, Vegan White Bean, Garlic, and Ginger Salad Dressing. It's delicious, easy to make, and so nutritious.
If you decide to buy a premade salad dressing, only get one that is labeled low sodium, salt free, or no salt added.
- Instant foods like flavored rice or noodles, and ready-made pasta, pizza, canned soup, and canned chili are high sodium products.
- To save time, make Instant Pot Acorn Squash and Apple Soup for Fall. Yummy recipe and photo comes from food blogger Judee Algazi.
- Want a nourishing, inexpensive, protein rich dish that is full of flavor? My recipe for Hearty Red Lentil Dal incorporates tasty Indian style spices, and the only added salt comes from low sodium vegetable broth. The recipe is so adaptable; it can be made as a stew or soup.
- Create your own dishes in a slow cooker. For example, try this simple recipe for Vegan Mushroom and Barley Stew with Turmeric and Garlic. Recipe and photo are from Jen deHaan.
- Bake, steam, and roast foods from scratch. Add a drop or two of olive oil after cooking, blend in freshly ground black pepper, and finish it off with a few drops of lemon or orange juice to perk up the taste.
- Eat unsalted nuts and unsalted trail mix instead of salted ones.
- Store bought pretzels, popcorn, pre-packaged breads and rolls, and chips are loaded with salt. Say no to them and make your own, or at the very least, get low salt varieties.
- Be creative with snack foods. Make baked sweet potato fries, and select crunchy unsweetened cereal, homemade bread, carrot sticks, peas, or a crisp apple smeared with almond butter.
- Buy vegetables that are fresh, frozen, or fresh from your home garden. Choose to serve frozen vegetables that are made without added salt or sauce.
- Canned foods like veggies or beans may have high sodium, so find those with the least amount of sodium. The same goes for olives, pickles, and the like. Rinse canned or bottled foods before cooking. This will wash away some of the salt.
- Use condiments including ketchup that is unsalted or lower in sodium.
- Take the salt shaker off your table and in its place use a shaker of oregano.
- Refrain from adding salt to water when you cook pasta, rice, corn on the cob, or potatoes.
- Substitute tasty herbs and spices to flavor your food instead of reaching for salt. Favorite spices of mine are ginger, turmeric, garlic, and no-salt Italian seasoning blend.
- When you are eating in a restaurant, ask for nutrition information before you order. Only then, select a verified low sodium meal or "no salt added meal." Split a meal with a friend, family member, or take home half for a second meal.
- When you're ordering takeout food to eat at the office or home, request unsalted main courses and vegetables. If veggies are already premade, get fruit as a side item instead.
- Keep takeout, restaurant meals, and fast food as an occasional treat. 💗
No matter how much sodium you have eaten in the past, it's possible to make healthier choices in the present and future.
Please let me know your personal tips and ideas about reducing salt intake in the comments section below.
In what ways have you measured and regulated the amount of salt you use? Has your method been successful? Please explain.
What new ideas appeal to you? Share that too.
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