Friday, October 15, 2021

Savvy Food Tips to Reduce Salt Intake

Low Salt Food Shopping, Prep, and Meal Ideas


According to the National Kidney Foundation too much sodium is bad for your health, increases your blood pressure, and makes your kidneys work harder. It can also increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

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. 

Post updated 7/14/2023

Keep in mind these amounts are top limits, especially if you're sensitive to the effects of sodium or have high blood pressure. 

If you aren't sure how much salt is healthy to ingest, listen to your body and talk to your health care provider for guidance. This post is offered for entertainment and educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.

Low Salt Food Shopping, Prep, and Meal Ideas

If you need or want to reduce salt intake, you don’t have to make lots of changes at once. 

This post is chock full of tips about how to season foods with flavorful herbs and spices, eat less salt, and improve wellness. There are links to delicious low salt recipes, and food prep ideas too.

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 entrĂ©es 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.
Tips, Ideas Recipes for Lentils

  • 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. đŸ’—

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.

Please don't put links in comments, as they won't be published that way.

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  1. As usual so informative. Your suggestions are so appreciated and substitutions so easy and simple

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Steven. Have a great weekend.

    2. So much of our sodium intake is hidden in the processed foods we eat.Thanks for mentioning.

    3. Yes, it's a hidden source of salt, one that can be reduced if we read and heed labels, and are selective about the amount of processed foods we eat. Have a beautiful day and enjoy the weekend.

  2. Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party! Hope your weekend is fabulous.

    1. Thanks for the comment Helen. It's my pleasure to attend the What's for Dinner Party. Thanks again for hosting.

  3. I agree that we need to be very mindful of our salt intake. You have really given some serious thought to a serious issue and offered some helpful and valuable suggestions. Thanks..

    1. Thanks so much for the visit and comment Judee. Appreciate the validation. Have a great day.

  4. Salt consumption for healthy people still seems to be an area that's not fully understood and still under research and discussion. Your detailed presentation does seem to have a medical motivation, if not medical advice.

    best... mae at

    1. Find it fascinating and important to learn the latest on health and nutrition issues. Think we all need to be proactive when it concerns our health. Thanks for your comment and have a great week.

  5. Thanks for sharing this useful post, totally agreed with you, most processed food are high in sodium, try not to consume and check the labels before purchasing....

    1. Thanks so much for the support and comment. Wish you a Happy Halloween.

  6. So many options for flavour without too much extra salt! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Marg and good morning. Thanks for the visit and comment. Love that in most recipes we can be creative in our use of herbs and spices. There's so much information on the internet these days about how to season foods well without too much extra salt.Have a lovely day.

  7. Hi Nancy,
    Welcome to Full Plate Thursday, we are so happy to have you here at the party today. Savvy Food Tips To Reduce Salt Intake has some very good tips and information that we can sure use to improve our health. Thanks so much for sharing with us on Full Plate Thursday, 560 and hope you come back again real soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks Miz Helen for the kind comment. It was my pleasure to visit your fun blog party, and I wish you a wonderful week.

  8. I prepare all our meals low sodium, because of my husband's heart condition. After doing this for over a year, I find that I don't miss the extra salt. I buy unsalted beans, tomatoes, broth etc. and keep track of the sodium in any seasoning that I add to a dish. Trying to keep daily salt intake between 1500 - 2000 can definitely be a challenge.

    1. Thanks Leslie for your thoughtful comment. I agree about not missing the extra salt. Keep up the good work and stay healthy!

  9. Nancy,
    I try to eliminate as much salt as possible. Great post. Congratulations, you are being featured on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop.

    1. What exciting news to wake up to. Thanks so much Bev for selecting this post as a feature at Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. I'm thrilled and honored. Will join you at the party soon. Hugs, Nan

  10. Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Hope your week is great!

  11. The recipe for the creamy bean salad dressing looks great. Thanks for sharing! #57

    1. Thanks Carol. When you do try the salad dressing please let me know how you like it. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  12. This is so important. I take care of my 93 year old grandma and argue with her all the time over how much salt she uses. I try to buy low sodium products and don't use very much salt when cooking but she still adds it to everything. Thanks again for sharing at the SSPS party
    Hugs, Maria

    1. Understand about that Maria. I used to struggle with that issue with my husband. Now, I mentally keep on repeating he's an adult, and keep my mouth closed. Wishing you a beautiful day and be well.