Effective Ways to Cut Back on Salt

It might surprise you to hear that the human body needs salt to maintain normal fluid levels (and electrolytes, fit muscle function, and ideal acidity or pH blood levels. However, because we need sodium to thrive, natural fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains already contain the adequate amount of salt we need.

Add to that the extra sodium we consume in the packaged and fast foods that we’re tempted to eat, and suddenly we’re taking in far more sodium than our bodies actually need—and too much excessive salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and numerous other health woes.

Here are 9 effective ways to cut back on salt as a family…

Read Product Labels

Make it a habit to actually read and understand the labels of the products going into your shopping cart. Consider things like how much sodium is in one serving and opt for lower sodium options.

Rinse Canned Goods

Even though they are canned, I still rinse canned beans and vegetables in a colander to run out any excess sodium in the canning liquids.

Cut Down on Take Out

One easy way to reduce salt is to eat out less often. That means relying less on packaged foods and making more meals at home.

Be Wary of Spice Blends

Spice blends—such as Italian spice or Cajun seasoning—usually contain hidden salt. Instead, opt for no- or low-sodium spice packets.

Use Seaweed

Instead of sprinkling in added salt to boil rice or pasta, try kombu or kelp, a type of seaweed that’s high in nutrients, but merely packs 180-milligrams of sodium per serving.

Go Frozen

It’s difficult to get good fresh produce in the winter, but you can opt for pre-packaged frozen veggies vs. canned to decrease sodium intake.

Low Fat Doesn’t Mean No Salt

Keep in mind that when a product is “low-fat” it’s often high in sodium for flavor-enhancing when higher fat or calorie ingredients are stripped out.

Ban the Salt Shaker

A surefire way to stop adding those extra few shakes of salt to your dinner plate is to ban the salt shaker from the dinner table altogether.

Opt for Low Sodium

If you cook with chicken stock or soy sauce choose a reduced-sodium version. Most soup, canned goods, and snacks come in low sodium options.

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Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.