A lot of people confuse sodium and table salt. Sodium is a mineral that is naturally present in many types of food. Table salt contains sodium, but it’s not the same. Our bodies need sodium because it helps us maintain fluid levels. Because too much sodium can cause the heart to work harder, consuming large amounts of the mineral can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, which is a very dangerous health condition. So experts recommend consuming up to 2,300 mg of sodium per day — or one teaspoon of table salt. One reason why avoiding sodium may seem so difficult is because over the past several decades, food manufacturers, specifically those who make packaged and processed foods, have been adding more and more sodium to the food we eat. Today, about 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium…

Low-Sodium Cooking at Home

You can still eat meat, poultry (like chicken breast), fish, shellfish, vegetables, and legumes (like black beans). But instead of frying or sautéing, eat dishes that are boiled, baked, grilled, and roasted. You can also use a slow cooker or an instant pot to make low-sodium recipes. If you go out to eat, you’ll have to avoid potentially high-sodium foods like soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes. But the great news is that you’re encouraged to make these comfort food recipes at home because when cooking in your own kitchen, you have total control over how much-added sodium you use. It’s the same for sauces. When you go out, these are just loaded with salt — much more than the one tablespoon that’s recommended. But at home, you can make some delicious meat and pasta sauces and gravy. The same for soup. At a restaurant, sodium is used to add flavor to giant vats of soups. And since people have such different tastes, chefs avoid appealing to the few people who like strong flavors from fresh herbs and spices. So instead, they use fistfuls of table salt.

Eat these, not that

It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re missing out when you first start eating low-sodium diet dinner recipes. If you have never had to watch your diet in the past, then you’re probably used to the taste of salt and high-sodium foods. But that feeling won’t last long. Just learn which substitutes are heart healthy. Your meals will likely be 10-times better once you familiarize yourself with the taste of different all-natural herbs and spices. Onion, parsley, basil, dried sage and thyme, and fresh ground black pepper make great salt substitutes. And their flavors are much more complex than ordinary salt. Then there are the salt-free and low-sodium mixed seasonings from the grocery store. If you have a recipe that calls for salt, substitute olive oil instead. Rather than frying your food, roast it in the oven. You'll soon realize that healthy living isn't so bad.

Low-Sodium Dessert

You probably already know that dessert is served best on important occasions. But that’s because what makes cakes, cookies, tarts, and ice cream so tasty is all the fat and sugar they contain. But did you know that some desserts are also high in sodium? If you’re wondering if a blondie or a fancy ice cream milkshake can lead to high blood pressure, they can. You’re more likely to encounter high-sodium cakes, desserts at a restaurant and catered events, but your homemade desserts that start out in a bag or box are very likely also to have a lot of sodium.

Processed foods, including many types of dessert mixes and recipes you purchase pre-made, refers to when you use industrial machinery to transform agricultural products into convenience foods. But just like with the main dishes and side dishes you prepare at home, homemade cakes, cookies, and even the most decadent, fancy dessert foods can be low in sodium. You can track down tons of low sodium dessert recipes in a snap. Unfortunately, you do still need to eat these sugary treats just once in while because we’re only talking about low-sodium — not low-fat or low in sugar.

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