While some sodium is needed to keep our hearts healthy, very few of us need extra. Too much salt can be linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, water retention/swelling, PMS bloating, and more. A little attention can go a long way to reduce salt intake and positively affect your health in huge ways! Here are a few easy ideas to decrease salt in your daily diet.
Avoid adding salt during preparation: If possible, wait until you are done cooking to add salt to a meal. This way you are only salting according to taste, not just randomly adding while cooking. You’re also not predetermining others’ salt intake, which many of us appreciate!
Taste the foods you have traditionally salted: Salt use is part taste and part habit. Our tastes evolve over time and you may find that your taste preferences for many items have changed significantly. Really try to taste the foods you generally add salt to and rediscover the natural flavors in your food. You will likely find some foods that don’t need it at all, and some that are delicious with other seasonings.
Experiment with different seasonings and spices: Lowering your salt intake does not mean you have to eat bland food. In fact, just the opposite. Salt is such a strong flavor that when you decrease it you are actually giving other flavors a chance to stand out! Experiment with things like garlic, pepper, Worcestershire, lemon, and anything else in your spice rack! Ditch packaged seasoning mixes when you can, and make your own skinny + low sodium taco seasoning at home.
Break habits: There are plenty of bad habits that may be effecting your health and weight, so don't let salt intake be one of them! You can cut down on salt intake just by actually salting according to taste, rather than by guessing or by habit! Your tastes and food may be different every day, so don't assume you know how much salt you'll want.
Rinse all canned products: Sometimes you just can't get your hands on fresh foods, and canned veggies are better than junk food! Try to buy low or no sodium foods when you can, and rinse off the canned food before you eat it to get rid of the excess salt.
Homemade is better: The homemade versions of your favorite foods will (almost) always have less salt. Even “bad” foods, like hamburgers and French fries are way better for you when homemade. Try our deliciously simple cheeseburger with a side of spicy sweet potato fries for a lower sodium, delicious meal option.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables: It is always better to eat fresh when possible, because even canned versions of healthy foods can contain loads of sodium.
Made from scratch is even better: Less processing, more creating! Again, foods made from scratch at home will always have less salt than the packaged versions. They also taste better, so you are less likely to want to add salt. Not all foods from scratch have to be tedious to make, you can whip up some garden fresh pesto in just 5 minutes! Click here for the recipe.
Read labels: We can't stress the importance of reading labels enough! Compare brands, versions, and flavors of different items to see which contain the least sodium. This alone can make a huge difference in your overall intake.
Cutting back on salt seems like a tall order, but you can take these small steps to work towards a healthier diet!