Happy Herbivore Blog

August 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:

  1. Instead of turning to salt for flavor, ramp up your spices and herbs.
  2. Spike & Kelp are great alternatives to salt – keep them on your table instead of a salt shaker.
  3. 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.
  4. Try to use a little less each day.
  5. Stop adding salt to the water when you're cooking pasta, it's unnecessary.
  6. 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.
  7. Be weary of anything marketed as “instant.”
  8. Be wary of “diet” products; they sometimes have more salt than the “regular” version.
  9. 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.
  10. If fresh is too expensive, go for frozen over canned. Frozen vegetables usually have less salt than canned veggies.
  11. Cut back on olives, pickles and capers.
  12. Make your own broth, or look for low-sodium options. Broths can be really salty!
  13. 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!)
  14. 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: 

  • Pretzels
  • Dill Pickles
  • Baking Soda
  • Saurkraut
  • Dry Roasted Mixed Nuts
  • Ketchup
  • White Bread
  • Potato Chips
  • Crackers (esp. SALTine Crackers)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Dressings
  • 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?

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