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Ways to reduce sodium in your diet

    • Remove the salt shaker. Do not have it in the kitchen when you cook or on the table when you eat.
    • Beware of commercially prepared salt substitutes.
      • Most salt substitutes are made of potassium chloride.
      • Your health care provider must OK the use of a salt substitute because it can interfere with the action of some medicines or medical conditions.
      • Using a salt substitute does not allow you to wean yourself from the craving for salt.
    • Eliminate salt in your cooking.
    • Eliminate obviously salty foods. These include:
      • flavored or seasoned salts
      • pickles
      • olives and sauerkraut packaged in salt brine
      • processed or cured meats such as ham, sausage, deli meats, hot dogs and jerky
      • canned soups
      • salted snacks
    • Try new seasonings.
      • Herbs and spices do not contain sodium.
      • Check labels to make sure they do not contain salt or sodium.
      • You may use flavored vinegar, sherry, wine and lemon juice for flavoring.
    • Learn to read food labels.
      • Figure out one serving size.
      • Compare one serving size to the amount you eat.
      • Figure out how much sodium the product contains for your serving size.
      • Low sodium is 140 milligrams or fewer per serving. Beware of 400 to 600 milligrams (or more) of sodium per serving.
      • Beware of ingredients that contain sodium such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate and sodium bicarbonate.
    • Consider smaller portions to keep meal sodium amounts to less than 600 mg.
    • Make a spice blend recipe. OK, so you're ready to throw out the salt - but save the shaker! Fill it with this spice blend and use it on home-cooked meals:
      • 4 tablespoons dry mustard
      • 1 tablespoons garlic powder
      • 4 tablespoons onion powder
      • 2 tablespoons white pepper
      • 1 tablespoon thyme
      • 1 teaspoon basil
      • 4 tablespoons paprika
        Combine the spices and blend them well. Put a small amount of rice in the bottom of your shaker to allow the spice blend to flow easily. Fill the shaker with the spice blend, using a funnel. Label and store.
    • Make an herb blend recipe. This blend of herbs and spices is good on meats and vegetables.
      • 1 teaspoon each:
        • dried basil
        • dried marjoram
        • thyme
        • dried oregano
        • dried parsley
        • ground cloves
        • ground mace
        • black pepper
        • dried savory
      • ¼ teaspoon each:
        • ground nutmeg
        • cayenne
          Vary the amounts to suit your taste. Fill the shaker with the spice blend, using a funnel. Label and store.

    Herb and spice suggestions

    Try these flavor ideas for meats and vegetables:

    • beef: bay leaf, curry, dry mustard, sage, marjoram, mushrooms, nutmeg, onion, pepper, thyme
    • lamb: curry, garlic, mint, pineapple, rosemary
    • pork: apples, applesauce, garlic, onion, sage, peaches
    • veal: apricots, bay leaf, curry, ginger, marjoram, oregano
    • fish: bay leaf, lemon juice, marjoram, mushrooms, paprika
    • chicken: cranberries, paprika, thyme, sage
    • asparagus: lemon juice
    • corn: green pepper, tomato
    • green beans: marjoram, lemon juice, nutmeg, dillweed, unsalted french dressing
    • peas: onion, mint, mushrooms, green pepper
    • potatoes: onion, mace, green pepper
    • squash: ginger, mace, onion, cinnamon
    • tomatoes: basil, marjoram, onion

    Tip

    "Reduced" sodium means 25 percent less sodium than the original product and may not actually be low in sodium.

    For example, regular Butterball® chicken broth has 980 mg of sodium in one cup. Reduced-sodium Butterball® chicken broth has 620 mg of sodium in one cup. This amount is still too much sodium for one serving.

    Did you know?

    Within 1 to 3 months of limiting salt, cravings will lessen and even disappear.