Aug. 29, 2011
How to Reduce Salt (video)
Today is “Less Salt” Day, so I thought I'd prepare a video and quick post with my tips for reducing salt in your diet.
Tips for Cutting Back on Salt:
- Instead of turning to salt for flavor, ramp up your spices and herbs.
- Spike & Kelp are great alternatives to salt – keep them on your table instead of a salt shaker.
- If a (non-baking) recipe calls for salt, omit it. Chances are you won't miss it. If you must add salt, add it to taste at the end, a pinch at a time. Alternatively, only sprinkle a little salt over top before serving.
- Try to use a little less each day.
- Stop adding salt to the water when you're cooking pasta, it's unnecessary.
- Avoid processed foods. Almost anything that's processed is going to have salt in it. Some have more salt than others, but whenever possible, skip junk foods and convenience foods – particularly fast foods. Fast food restaurants saturate everything with salt, but even on-the-go sandwiches that seem healthy can be loaded with salt.
- Be weary of anything marketed as “instant.”
- Be wary of “diet” products; they sometimes have more salt than the “regular” version.
- Buy low sodium and no-salt-added choices whenever possible, especially when it comes to soy sauce and canned beans. I like Eden Organics No-Salt-Added Beans . Whole Foods Market also sells salt-free canned beans that are less than a dollar per can. If you don't have access to low sodium canned goods, rinse well.
- If fresh is too expensive, go for frozen over canned. Frozen vegetables usually have less salt than canned veggies.
- Cut back on olives, pickles and capers.
- Make your own broth, or look for low-sodium options. Broths can be really salty!
- If you eat meat, avoid smoked and cured meats (like salami, jerky and bologna) which are really high in sodium. Ditto for cheese – shredded cheeses are high in salt, and canned meats (like tuna) are usually loaded with it. (Want to go veg? see my transitioning plans!)
- Have patience. Salt has an addictive taste and it takes a while to get over that. I've stopped using salt in my cooking a few months ago and my taste buds have changed. I find I'm more aware of salt now: pickles taste incredibly salty to me (and I used to love them!) and I also find food at most restaurants tastes salty.
Sneaky (and not so sneaky) Salt Bombs:
- Dill Pickles
- Baking Soda
- Dry Roasted Mixed Nuts
- White Bread
- Potato Chips
- Crackers (esp. SALTine Crackers)
- Tortilla Chips
- Butter (incl. Vegan butters!)
- Bouillon Cubes
- Pasta Sauce
- Soups (canned or at restaurants)
- Breakfast Cereals
- Canned or Bottled Beverages – especially sodas and drinks like V8.
For more reading, check out this NY Times article which has a lot of information and links to other resources.
Do you have any tips for cutting back on salt?