In February of this year a panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board released its report on the need for sodium (salt). This report sets a toxic upper limit (UL) for sodium as 2,300 mg. For young adults the new guidelines state that 1,500 mg of sodium is an adequate intake (AI). Most Americans get an average of 3,000 to 5,000 mg per day – how are they to cut it in half?
1. Switch from using deli meats to low-sodium tuna and roasted chicken.
2. Use low-sodium bread or use less bread. Cooked rice and pasta (without added salt) make good alternatives.
3. Switch to pasta sauce without added salt or add no-salt-added tomato sauce in equal parts to bottled pasta sauce.
4. Eat cereal without added salt: oatmeal, cream of wheat (whole is best), shredded wheat and puffed whole-grain cereal.
5. Use no-salt-added condiments like salt-free ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and low-sodium mayonnaise. Beware of mustard and soy sauce, both of which are high in sodium.
6. Use vinegar and oil (sparintly) on your salads instead of bottled dressings.
7. Make your own soup instead of using canned soup; use low-sodium broth.
8. Avoid or limit convenience meals. These include boxed mixes, frozen dinners and canned foods.
9. Eat more meals at home. Cook your own food in batches and freeze for use on hectic days.
10. Eat more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
11. Read labels to find foods that have a lower amount of sodium than calories.
12. Substitute fresh vegetables for pickles and other pickled foods.
13. Use cheese very sparingly.
14. Watch out for salty snacks.
15. Limit the amount of cured meats such as sausages and hot dogs that you eat.
16. Limit the amount of imitation crab and fish eggs that you eat. These are often found in sushi.
17. Beware of soy substitutes; these are often high in sodium.
18. Bake your own cookies, muffins and breads; omit the salt.
19. Use nut butter without added salt instead of margarine.
20. If you are going to use canned foods, rinse them first to remove some of the sodium.
12 Best Low-Sodium Food Choices
• Brown rice – Cooks easily in a rice cooker.
• Colored and whole-grain
pastas – Usually have no added salt; add fiber to your meal.
• Flavored vinegars – Come in fun colors; add a lot of flavor with no sodium.
• Fresh fish – Quick cooking; no added sodium.
• Frozen artichokes – All the flavor of artichokes without the added salt of canned versions.
• Frozen beans – Black-eyed peas and lima beans are cooked without added salt.
• Frozen vegetable mixes – Many flavor varieties and all the convenience of canned without the salt.
• Fruits – Naturally delicious and salt-free!
• Nut butters (without salt)
• Oatmeal – Cooks quickly and you don’t need to add salt.
• Rotisserie chicken – Already cooked, low in sodium.
• Vegetables – Naturally delicious and salt-free!
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.