Nine out of 10 Americans consume nearly double the amount of sodium that is recommended by the American Heart Association. Consuming excess amounts of sodium can cause high blood pressure and put you at risk for stroke and heart failure. Additionally, children are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure if they eat a high-sodium diet. In honor of National Nutrition Month, the health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, have put together five low-sodium substitutes to keep your food tasting great without the extra salt.
Sub in Soup.
Avoid canned or pre-packaged soups. Foods containing 140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving are considered low-sodium products, but you need to be mindful of how many servings are actually in your typical meal. If you are looking for a substantial reduction, you should consider making your own soup and using bone, vegetable, or mushroom broth. In some cases, the reduced sodium or low-sodium options end up being significantly better than the traditional broth, but making your own vegetable broth guarantees a low-sodium option allowing you to add salt to your taste. To make your own broth at home, take some veggies or veggie scraps from other meals of the week, put them into a large pot, cover them with water, and simmer for about 45-60 minutes. Then strain out the liquid and use in your favorite soup recipe.
Ditch the Bread.
Even though it may not taste salty, bread is actually a large contributor to your daily salt intake. A slice of bread can contain anywhere from 200 to 400 milligrams of sodium per slice, even whole grain options. Comparatively, corn tortillas may have only five milligrams of sodium (depending on the brand). Or consider cutting the bread all together and get creative with lettuce wraps or an eggplant “bun!”
Not all vegetables are created equal! Even in their fresh state, some vegetables such as beets, carrots, and spinach are higher in sodium than others. Some naturally low or no sodium options are broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers. While canned vegetables are very convenient, you have to be aware of the amount of salt per can. Look for the no salt or canned in water options. Fresh is best, but if you are looking for something out of season head to the frozen section. Frozen vegetables typically have no salt added as long as they do not have any added sauce or butter.
Meat on its own has a higher, natural sodium content. But you can save on sodium with the type of meat and how you prepare it. Chicken and turkey without the skin are your best bet for lower sodium meats. For beef and pork, leaner cuts are best. When preparing, use low-sodium/no salt seasonings and try to avoid adding iodized salt (also called table salt). Repurpose your freshly cooked meat by slicing it thin to use in place of deli meat. Avoid prepackaged lunchmeat, which contains a significant amount of salt to keep it fresh. Instead, go to your deli counter and get baked, low-sodium chicken and turkey breast for a reduced-sodium option.
Sub the Sauce.
Bottled and prepared sauces are typically higher in sodium. Preparing your own substitute is your best bet for ensuring lower salt per serving. Try replacing Alfredo sauce with a simple creamy cauliflower sauce created by steaming cauliflower then pureeing it with a bit of skim milk. For red sauce, go with just the tomatoes or pureed steamed tomatoes. Use these sauces on pasta or prepared meats to keep sodium intake down and flavor up. Bottled salad dressing averages 300 mg of sodium per two tablespoons! Sub it out using extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or try a vinaigrette or balsamic, which are typically lower in sodium than creamy dressings.
About the author:
Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. For more information, please visit our website www.envolvehealth.com.