No one wants to tuck into a meal that’s bland and lacking flavor, but smothering it in salt isn’t the answer. Many of us exceed the daily recommendation for sodium without even realizing, which could lead to hypertension, raising the risk of strokes, kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.
Various studies have found links between high sodium intake and obesity in kids, while others discovered reducing salt and increasing fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of health issues later in life.
If you have children to look out for, or need to cut back on salt yourself, read on for alternatives, courtesy of registered dietitian and nutritionist Jennifer Glockner.
Go for whole foods
Processed meals are known to be bad for us, with 70 per cent of salt in our diet added during processing. Jennifer suggests small swaps to lower our sodium intake, such as replacing deli and cured meats with fresh chicken, fish or turkey in sandwiches or salads. Be careful about which cheese and bread you use too, and read packets when you can to keep on track.
The same goes for vegetables and beans; when they’re canned sodium is used to preserve them, so give them a thorough rinse before use. Alternatively, buy fresh or frozen versions as these won’t make a dent in your salt intake.
Use vegetables to enhance
Following the veg route again, why not use strong-flavored foods like onion, garlic or celery to give your dish that extra oomph rather than reaching for the salt shaker. This also lowers the fat content of meals, as does swapping meats for mushrooms to keep things bulky but healthier.
Or for a fresh zing, squeeze a lemon or lime into your dish to create a citrus twist, perfect for poultry or fish.
Swap salt for spices
This is often recommended and Jennifer has reminded us how much this small move can improve our overall health. Herbs and spices instead of salt not only lower the problems associated with high sodium levels, but it also boosts the body’s antioxidants. This will prevent disease and keep you in good form, similar to the benefits of fruit and veg.
Previous studies have found that clove, oregano, and caraway boast the highest levels of antioxidant and phenolic properties, so adding these to your food could really work wonders.
There’s so many options with spices, therefore you won’t ever struggle to find one that fits your cuisine. Ginger for Asian influence, cumin for Indian and Middle Eastern meals and paprika for smokiness are just some of the examples you can enjoy.