Cutting Back on Sodium
(This page is a continuation of our Be Sodium-Savvy page.)
Here are some additional tips that can help you cut back on sodium throughout your day:
Take the time to check labels at the grocery store. Check the amount of sodium in a serving and compare it to other similar items. This may sound time-consuming, but next time you shop for groceries, you’ll know what best options are and exactly where to find them.
Limit the amount of salt that you add when cooking. Instead, stock your spice cabinet with salt-free seasonings and spices. Look for recipes that don’t call for added salt. Fresh herbs, citrus juices, vinegars, and garlic are all low-sodium ways to add flavor to your food. Here are some examples:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice on steamed vegetables, broiled fish, rice, or pasta. You may want to try squeezing fresh lime juice on Spanish dishes.
- Try salt- or sodium-free lemon pepper or mesquite seasoning on chicken.
- Add cooked onion and garlic to liven up meats and vegetables.
- Add fresh herbs to salads, pasta, or rice dishes to enhance flavor instead of adding salt or high-sodium condiments.
- Marinate vegetables or cook them with balsamic vinegar.
Refrain from using the salt shaker at the table. Try your food without salting it first – it may be better than you think! You’ll get a true taste of the natural flavors in the food you cook. If you need to, remove the salt shaker from the table all together. Keep the pepper out if you want to add a kick to your meal.
Be aware that sometimes fat-free and reduced fat items have more sodium in them. It is usually added to give these products more flavor. Check the nutrition labels on these items so you know what you are getting.
Here are just a few more handy tips to slim down the sodium in your diet:
- Buy unsalted natural peanut butter and almond butter.
- Buy unsalted butter.
- Choose unsalted nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted.
- Swap out a snack of chips or pretzels for a piece of fresh fruit and some unsalted peanut butter or trail mix.
- Buy fresh meat or poultry on the weekend and cook it up using fresh herbs and spices. Store and portion it out for lunch sandwiches the following week.
- Buy spaghetti and marinara sauce labeled as “no salt added”.
- If a recipe calls for salt, cut the amount in half.
- Choose recipes that call for fresh ingredients that have been minimally processed.
- Milk and whole wheat bread are healthy carbohydrate choices. However, they have enough sodium in them that it can add up if you have too much. If you have diabetes, you probably already watch your intake of these foods. You can still have them, but be aware that 1 cup of milk has about 130 mg and 1 slice of whole wheat bread could have 130 mg or more.
Note: Some people try to use salt substitutes instead in place of table salt. These substitutes are high in potassium, which could be harmful to some people. Check with your physician before using salt substitutes and make sure they won’t interfere with another medical condition or your medications if you take them.
Did you find this information to be helpful? Is there anything you think we should add? Visit the American Diabetes Association online community, and share your thoughts! We look forward to hearing from you.
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