Reviewed by: Erica An, BNutr&Diet, APD
A little salt in your diet is necessary for the body to function well. However, it’s so easy for your salt intake to skyrocket without you even realising, due to the high salt levels in so many foods and drinks available today.
The Heart Foundation recommends 5g of salt (2000mg of sodium) – that’s less than a teaspoon a day! So how do you make sure you and your family are remaining under this daily level?
Here are 5 simple tips to cut down:
Cut back slowly
We’ll be the first to admit that salty foods are delicious. But be warned, salt can be addictive! Our taste buds become accustomed to the foods we eat regularly. So if you’re trying to cut back, do it gradually so your taste buds have time to readjust to the new flavours. Otherwise, you’ll think all non-salted foods taste down-right boring! If you usually add a few grinds of salt to your meals when cooking, cut back to just one twist of the salt grinder – small changes will make a BIG difference overall.
There are soooo many delicious alternatives to salt for flavouring and seasoning your food. Herbs and spices can provide MAJOR flavour hits if you know what combinations work well together. Our favourites? Paprika, cumin and fresh lemon juice on grilled chicken, turmeric on roasted cauliflower, and pepper and rosemary on lamb cuts.
Fresh over frozen
This one may seem obvious, but any time you buy frozen foods, chances are they’re jam packed with added salt. We aren’t talking about the snap frozen fruit and veg that are super convenient, but things like frozen crumbed fish fillets and ready-made meals that simply need defrosting in the oven. Sometimes, buying a pre-packed frozen meal can be an absolute winner for convenience, however do your best to eat fresh over frozen majority of the time.
Opt for “on-the-side”
One of the simplest ways to reduce your salt intake is to cut back on added sauces. Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, asking for your sauce “on the side” rather than poured all over your meal can save you a heap of unwanted salt. That way you can simply add a little sauce on your food and you know exactly how much you’re actually eating!
Doing your weekly grocery shop? Always choose the ‘unsalted’ variety of foods. We’re talking about things like nuts, bottled sauces and canned vegetables (like legumes or corn). Similarly, when you’re standing at the supermarket deli, skip on the processed meats like ham and salami and opt for oven roasted chicken or turkey slices.
Also read: How to Grocery Shop like a Champion