We are in week two of our challenge and I’m hearing from many how tough it’s been to stay within the suggested 1500 mg of salt per day. Below are some tips to help you gradually reduce your salt intake. The quickest and easiest way to drastically reduce the amount of salt you eat is to remove the salt shaker form the dinner table, use less or none while cooking, and avoid processed food. For a more gradual transition, try using less salt and buy products that contain “reduced sodium.” As you gradually decrease the amount of salt you use, your taste buds will adjust and foods that contain high levels will taste overly salty. This happens rather quickly, as just today, I tried a piece of low sodium lunch meat (turkey) and it still tasted overly salty. This is just after a week and a half of participating in the challenge. Try some of the tips below and let me know if they help you reduce the amount of salt you are eating!
1. Buy frozen instead of canned. You can buy frozen vegetables that contain no added salt, but canned products are often laden with salt. Check out the canned tomatoes and beans next time your in the store, you will be amazed how much salt is in them. If you can’t avoid buying the canned at times, just rinse the product and it will help reduce the amount of sodium you eat!
2. Cut down on cured meats (deli meat, bacon)If you don’t want to cut these products out completely, just eat smaller portions or buy the lower sodium varieties.
3. If you are a soup eater in the winter, avoid buying it in a can! Make your own pot of soup for the week, or look for a canned variety that is salt free! Watch out for soup in restaurants too- they are often laden with salt.
4. Go light on condiments and dressings-most are loaded with salt. Ketchup has 160mg in one tablespoon and mustard has 50mg in just a teaspoon! Just be aware and use sparingly, or choose from lower salt or no salt options such as balsamic vinegar, horseradish, lemon juice, pickle relish, salt free Mrs Dash.
5. Stay away from fast food- laden with fat, calories and salt! A typical order of chicken strips (3 count) has 1600 -1900mg salt, and a grilled chicken sandwich-1600mg salt, and a typical breakfast sandwich has 1000-1600mg salt. Hello!
6. When you do go out to eat- ask what you’re eating! With all the dietary restrictions and allergies these days, restaurants are used to making accommodations. Most chefs will omit salt when requested, they want you to be happy and it’s no more work for them to put the salt down.
If you have any additional tips on how you reduce salt in your diet, please share them here! We can all learn from each other!