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!