Here are some quick easy to do food-prep ideas that will help you slash sodium from your diet, and lead you down the path to better blood pressure and a healthier lifestyle. The tips below are based on information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Tip #1. Be a LABEL READER. Before you purchase and before you prep your food, read the labels (or look up) the amount of sodium the food product has.
- The goal is to stay below 1,500 milligrams a day of sodium. It helps if you keep a daily journal with notes and total daily amounts of sodium.
- When possible, always purchase low-sodium versions of frozen, canned, prepackaged, or jarred foods.
- Always choose fresh vegetables over canned.
- Create meals and snacks as much as possible to better control the amount of sodium that goes into your food.
Tip #2. Make a conscious effort DAILY to REDUCE sodium from everything you eat. How many different ways can you cut from your daily diet?
- Don't add salt to the water when you boil rice or pasta.
- Choose fresh, whole cuts of fish and meat over canned, processed or pressed.
- Rinse off canned foods before using them
- Don't use the packet flavors that come with prepared or instant foods. Instead, use your own low-sodium seasoning.
Tip #3. Make your own LOW-SODIUM SEASONINGS Be creative when adding flavors to your foods so you won't be tempted to use salt.
- Select fresh herbs and spices that are salt-free instead of grabbing the saltshaker.
- Try herb or citrus-infused oils, cider vinegars, malt or avocado mash instead of condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, or barbecue sauce.
- Use oil with red wine vinegar or lemon juice on your salads instead of salad dressings that tend to be high in sodium.
- Try seasoning lean animal proteins as well as vegetables, using garlic, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and other fresh, mouth-watering flavors.
- Stuff fresh, crunchy vegetables into your wraps or sandwiches, instead of using olives or pickles.
So, you see, with a few simple adjustments of reading labels, reducing your sodium intake daily, and creating your own flavorful low-sodium condiments you can be on your way to a healthier, happier lifestyle.