When we think about consuming less salt, it’s easy to visualize an unseasoned meal that tastes bland and boring. However, the best way to reduce the amount of sodium you consume is by embarking on a healthy eating journey and being mindful of the ingredients you use in your everyday meals.
At The Woodlands at Canterfield, our luxury senior living community implements fresh and nutritious ingredients into our meals every day, so that residents can reap the benefits of a well-balanced – and delicious – diet.
Here are some tips to reduce your salt and sodium intake without sacrificing any flavor!
The Harmful Affect of Sodium
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we should consume less than 2,300 mg of salt daily, which is the equivalent of almost half a teaspoon. However, about 90% of Americans consume too much salt in their diets. A surplus of sodium can lead to health issues like heart disease, elevated blood pressure and stroke.
Due to salt’s flavor-enhancing qualities, most of the sodium we consume comes from overly-salted processed foods or meals prepared at restaurants. So, when it comes to your healthy eating journey, it can be tricky to avoid excess sodium when it’s so commonly used.
How to Get Started
Planning Your Sodium-Free Diet
Be mindful of the sodium in different ingredients and items you buy. Pay attention to the nutrition facts on food labels to see what percentage of your daily sodium intake an item contains. To stay safe, stick to fresh produce and meat, which have less sodium than canned or packaged versions of vegetables, fruits and deli meats.
For extra assistance, talk to a registered dietitian about your current sodium intake habits. A dietitian can help you discover how much salt you realistically consume each day, give tips for cutting back and choosing low-sodium options at restaurants and share recipe suggestions.
Cooking with Less Sodium
Plenty of low-sodium cookbooks offer delicious and unique recipes that kickstart your healthy eating lifestyle. However, you can also start implementing smaller strategies into your diet to reduce salt levels in other foods and snacks. For example, when it comes to dairy products, avoid things like buttermilk and processed cheeses, as well as cheese sauces and spreads. Instead, swap them out for milk and yogurt and milk-based cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta, which have low-sodium content.
While fresh veggies are the best way to avoid unnecessary sodium, recipes might call for canned vegetables – or you might just want something with a longer shelf life. If you opt to use canned vegetables, always use a strainer to rinse out the contents. In fact, a study found that in one can of green beans, the sodium content was reduced by 2% after draining out the can and by another 7% after rinsing the green beans with water.
Leverage Other Seasonings
Keep in mind that salt isn’t the only way to add flavor to dishes. Regardless of what you’re cooking, you can use things like garlic, herbs, spices, vinegar, onion, and lemon juice to boost your low-sodium meals to a whole new level. You can also create your own seasonings to keep at home.
Here’s an easy salt-free seasoning recipe that you can make yourself, store in a jar and use in your kitchen:
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
If you don’t cook for yourself, ask those who prepare your meals to be aware of the sodium changes you want to make. Sit down to plan out meals that use whole foods and balanced ingredients and research different seasoning options that can add different, unique flavor combinations.
At The Woodlands at Canterfield, our culinary experiences are meant to surpass expectations and invigorate the senses. Our luxury senior living community utilizes fresh, seasonal ingredients to create nutritious dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor, providing residents and guests with indulgent meals.
For more educational resources and to learn more about our brand-new luxury senior living community, explore our website or call us at 224-203-5939!