Easy ways to reduce sodium in your diet.

Salt is one of those sneaky substances.  Unless you’re watching how much of it you’re consuming, and I mean WATCHING – as in counting milligrams, you’d never guess how much is in most “normal” foods.

Take for instance a hamburger.  One 4 oz. beef patty contains 75 mg of sodium.  Sandwich that meat in a bun (200 mg sodium).  Squirt on some ketchup (160 mg), mustard (75 mg) and a little pickle relish (120 mg).  Now add some good ole American cheese (300 mg).

That burger with a single slice of cheese, bun & condiments contains over 900 milligrams of sodium!

Whether you’re on a strict salt-free diet or simply looking to reduce your sodium intake, there are many ways to skirt extra salt with easy substitutions. The health & fitness website Greatist just compiled a must-read list of 21 Lower-Sodium Solutions. Here are some of my favorites.

Stop adding salt to your food. Almost too obvious to state, added salt is unnecessary, especially when using processed food. The only reason I keep salt in the house is for guests (who rarely ask for it) and when I do tie dying. (Yes, I tie dye.)

Use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. Not only will you be benefiting yourself & your own health, but the farmers who live near you.

Seek out products that are labelled “salt free” or “no salt added.” Canned goods like tomatoes, vegetables and beans all come in salt-free varieties. Remember that hamburger above? Apart from mayonnaise, I’ve found salt-free versions of ketchup, mustard, even pickles, all in my regular grocery store. Salt-free products will save you hundreds of milligrams of sodium per serving.

Opt for Low-Sodium or Lower Sodium versions of everything else. Commercial chicken, beef & vegetable broths, bacon, soy sauce, packaged crackers (like Nabisco’s “Hint of Salt” line), even Pringles! All these things & more come in reduced sodium versions. If you can’t get something salt-free, be sure to buy reduced sodium.

When baking, use either Ener-G sodium-free baking soda or Featherweight sodium-free baking powder instead of traditional baking soda and baking powder. Traditional leavening agents contain hundreds of milligrams of sodium – swap out & save big time!

Always use UNSALTED butter instead of salted, when baking, cooking or breakfasting.

Instead of using salt, opt for salt-free spice blends, herbs and spices. I’ve reviewed many of these on The Daily Dish. Benson’s Table Tasty, Mrs. Dash, The Spice House. All excellent, highly recommended AND SODIUM FREE!

Use Bragg Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce. Chinese and other cuisines rely heavily on the unique taste of soy. Lower-sodium soy sauce is good, but Bragg Liquid Aminos is better. Better yet? Make your own FAUX SOY SAUCE. Really!

Instead of bottled marinades or dressings, make your own salt-free versions at home. Choose from a list of low-sodium salad dressings right HERE.

Similarly, flavor foods with vinegar, oil, citrus and other fruit juices instead of salt.

Get creative. Try weird combinations and see what happens. I love homemade apple chutney.. on EVERYTHING. How about a salt-free peanut butter and low-sodium bacon sandwich? Take the opportunity to explore local markets and grocery stores, pick up and examine unfamiliar foods and see what you’re missing. You may find a new salt-free wonder food!

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11 Responses to Easy ways to reduce sodium in your diet.

  1. Wow! What a great and helpful post, Christy! I have been slowly cutting down on salt use, thanks to your blog actually–you’ve really inspired me! For example, I used to have avocado toast for breakfast with LOTS of salt on top. I cut out the salt entirely and use a sprinkle of lemon juice and pepper now and it is actually much more delicious! :-)

  2. Kelly says:

    Once you start label reading it is incredible how much sodium is in our food. Because of a kidney disease diagnosis about a year ago I have totally transformed how I cook and how I eat. One of my tricks is to always make my own salad dressing. I use the same recipe and just change the vinegar. Right now my favorite is cranberry pear balsamic. I try to always have a little container in my purse so that if all else fails I can eat a salad. Another key for me is portion control. When you double the portion, you double the sodium. I’ve lost 25 pounds this year and I believe it’s mostly due to portion control. Because of this website and others, it makes the journey a little easier. Thanks!

  3. Great blog! I’ve actually been debating on increasing my sodium slightly but am still researching it. I typically keep my sodium under 2000 mg so I am in a good range already. I am trying to figure out the correlation between sodium and hydration (no matter how much water I drink, I generally feel dehydrated, I was thinking maybe my sodium was too low?) Anyway! Just love all these tips!
    ~Ang

  4. Great ideas! I already do a lot of these, but I’m going to look for the soy sauce, baking powder, and baking soda next. Thanks for the ideas :-)

  5. Interesting…
    for some reason I never thought of Baking Soda contained that much salt…
    I guess I never checked, but still, kind of surprised me, Dishy!
    :)

  6. Christy says:

    YAY! SO glad you found these helpful. The list from Greatist is a wonderful resource, especially for those just starting out. It’s crazy how much sodium is in.. pretty much everything. When I was first diagnosed w/ Meniere’s and put on the salt-free diet, it was mind blowing — things I’d been eating forever, I’d had no clue how much sodium they contained. Thank goodness for these easy swap-outs!!!!

  7. shambo says:

    These are great ideas. You’ve condensed a lot of wisdom. I think starting out can be very intimidating, and you’ve outlined some basic (and simple) steps to take.

  8. Christy says:

    Many thanks & Happy New Year, Shambo!!

  9. Pingback: The difference between sodium and salt. » The Daily Dish

  10. Lois DeSpiegelaere says:

    Hello,

    I just wanted to say how very appreciative I am to have found your site……..you have everything I could hope to find here………I’ve read your story and love that you share all that you do with us………thank you so much………..I have been telling others about this site too………..It really has helped me in my search for salt free and low sodium options………….I hope to use lots of your recipes…………keep up the great work.

    Lois

    • Christy says:

      Hi Lois!

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment. It’s a pleasure helping others w this site – and it means so much hearing from people who find it useful. Thanks for taking the time to let me know! :)

      Wishing you all the very best,
      Christy

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