On average, Canadians consume approximately 3400 mg of sodium each day. This is more than double the amount we need! Although your body does require a small amount of sodium in order to be healthy, too much can lead to elevated blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly though, most of the sodium that we eat doesn’t come from the saltshaker. It comes from the sodium added to processed foods and items that we order at a restaurant. The good news is, however, these days there are a lot more lower sodium products and options available to help you lower your salt intake. Here are five lower sodium nutrition swaps to keep your sodium intake in check!
5 nutrition swaps to lower your salt intake
1. No salt added beans
Canned beans can be a great plant-based source of protein that are also rich in fibre and iron, but many canned varieties also contain a surprising amount of sodium. No salt-added beans can be a great lower sodium alternative and are incredibly versatile too. Just be sure to rinse them well before incorporating them into various dishes.
Use them in: Chilis, soups, salads, dips, burritos and tacos
2. No salt added broth
When’s the last time you had a can of soup? It’s no secret that canned soup can be loaded with sodium to incorporate additional flavour. For a healthier swap, why not make your own soup using a no salt-added or reduced-sodium broth. Load it up with fresh veggies (try a mirepoix) or other fresh veggies that you need to use up in the fridge. Protein such as chicken, turkey, beef or plant-based options like lentils, beans or tofu can be a great addition too. And don’t forget the whole grains such as barley, whole-grain pasta or brown rice for a satisfying and balanced meal!
Use it in: Soups, for cooking rice or quinoa, or sauces such as gravy
3. Reduced sodium marinara sauce
Who doesn’t love a good pasta sauce? Marinara sauce is a popular staple in many of our pantries, but the sodium can add up quickly if we’re using it on a regular basis. Cut the sodium without sacrificing on flavour by using a reduced sodium marinara sauce. Toss in some extra veggies, spices and aromatics such as garlic and onion to incorporate even more flavour without the additional sodium.
Use it in: Pasta, soups, chilis, and meatloaf
4. Fresh meat instead of deli
Although convenient, deli meats can be a major source of sodium in many of our diets. Looking to add some protein to your sandwich, but want a lower sodium option than deli meat? Try cooking up your own meat to add to your lunchbox instead of the sodium-laded popular lunch time staple. Select lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast, turkey breast or roast beef and add your own spices to flavour it up and slash the sodium. To save time, you can prepare a couple of different types of meat at the beginning of the week and use it throughout the week to make lunches a breeze!
Use it in: Sandwiches, paninis, or in a bento box
5. Dried spices and herbs
We often forget that the salt that we add during cooking or at mealtimes can quickly add up. Instead of sprinkling on extra salt to add flavour, try using more spices and herbs! Depending on what you’re cooking, you can incorporate spices and herbs such as such as coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, parsley, cumin, cilantro, ginger, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, garlic or onion powder, bay leaf, oregano, dry mustard, or dill. Mrs. Dash or other salt-free seasonings such as PC Blue Menu Lemon & Herb Seasoning can be a great lower sodium blend to infuse a vibrant and zesty flavour into your meals.
Use it in: Meat, poultry, seafood, soups, chilis, vegetables, marinades, sauces, and dressing