All the recent talk about sodium reduction may have you wondering where to start.  The obvious answer is to reduce the amount of table salt that we often sprinkle on our food.  But the salt shaker is only one of the problems.  The majority of the sodium in our diets come from processed foods and the other culprit is fast foods and restaurant foods.

The truth is reducing your sodium intake naturally improves the quality of your diet.  Foods such as fruits and vegetables are naturally sodium free and loaded with potassium.  And, if we reduce the amount of processed foods that we eat, that means that we’re probably eating more nutritiously dense foods.  Lastly, we can all benefit from getting back in the kitchen and eating more home-cooked meals.

Here are some very easy ways to reduce sodium and lead you on the path to better health.

Instead of: Choose: Examples of items to choose:
Canned foods Fresh or frozen Purchase bagged beans and soak them in water rather than buying canned beans.  Also rather than chicken or salmon in a can purchase the fresh or frozen varieties
Salted Varieties Unsalted Things such as pretzels, crackers, nuts and seeds come in the unsalted variety.
Fast Foods Home-cooked Fast foods and restaurant foods are loaded with sodium.  Often you can make the same items at home with half the sodium (and fat for that matter) just by starting with fresh ingredients and using sodium free flavor enhancers.
Table Salt or other seasoning with the word “salt” in it Herbs and other Spices Use pepper or other herbs and seasoning such as oregano, cilantro, garlic to add flavor to foods rather than salt.
Vegetable juice Fresh tomato, fruit juice It’s better to eat a raw tomato which does not contain sodium and have a small glass of fruit juice with that.
Processed Meats Fresh meats Purchase a whole turkey, chicken or roast and slice the meat to be used on sandwiches.  Freeze the rest for future use.

Often foods without food labels, such as fresh meats, fruits and vegetables are naturally sodium free.  Trying to cut back on the amount of sodium in our diets is just one more step to a healthier lifestyle.

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