If you’re eating way too much salt—because it’s a habit, or you simply like the taste or, like me, you’re trying to add some seasoning to the-not-so-flavorful dish you just cooked—read on for some insightful (and, quite possibly, alarming!) truths about these white crystal compounds. In the story below, Robyn Priebe, RD, nutrition leader at Green Mountain at Fox Run, provides easy tips to reduce your sodium intake; in a second feature, Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LD/N, dietitian, of Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, shares reasons to avoid a high-sodium diet.
By Robyn Priebe, RD, Nutrition Leader at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Ludlow, Vermont
Are you thinking about trying to cut back on the amount of salt you use? Most people report that they don’t add salt to food very often, yet our sodium intake is probably much higher than we believe it to be.
Aside from the times we might cater to cravings for chips or salted nuts, we might not believe we eat very many salty foods; however, salt is added to more food than we realize.
I suggest the following tips for cutting back your intake of sodium:
- Cook at home more often—restaurant meals are notorious for being very salt-heavy.
- Ask for no-added salt when at restaurants—it may already be in a dish, but you may prevent a final sprinkle going on before the dish is sent out, and a sprinkle can pack a lot of sodium.
- When cooking at home, use acids like lemon juice, lime juice, and vinegars to replace some or all of the salt in: chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, soups, and sauces.
- Dilute—when eating high-salt foods, mix them with low-salt foods.
Here are a few examples of how to make this happen:
- Mix three kinds of plain nuts with one type of salted nuts.
- Mix salt-free pretzels or chips with salted.
- Add pureed vegetables like cooked carrots, peppers, or onions to store-bought tomato sauce.
- Add a handful of plain frozen vegetables to pre-made soups, frozen entrées, leftovers from restaurants, and mac and cheese before heating up.
Just a few small changes like these can make a big difference in your health.