20 Ways to Lower Sodium

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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!

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