As a nurse and health coach, I know just how bad high sodium (salt) intake can be for your over-all health. It increases your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Though our bodies need some sodium to be healthy, the average American takes in far more than we need, and most people get way too much!
Your goal should be to limit your sodium intake to 2000 milligrams per day. That means reading labels and keeping track of how much you are getting in your food.
Here are 3 easy steps you can take to reduce your sodium intake without having to put much thought into it:
Avoid Canned Foods – When it comes to sodium, most canned foods are the devil! For example: Campbell’s Chicken and Rice soup has 790 milligrams (mg) per serving! That is 1/3 of your entire daily recommendation. If you eat the whole can, like many do, you get over 2000 mg in just 1 meal! Del Monte green beans are not much better with 380 mg of sodium in 1 serving.
Instead of using products like this, choose fresh vegetables instead and make your own soups. This lets you be in control of how much sodium you use. Your food will taste better too because it is fresh. Think making soup is too hard? Think of this- eat what you want now and freeze the rest – now you have ready to go meals in the freezer.
Take the Salt Shaker Off the Table – Use salt only when cooking. You will actually use less and get more flavor because it will be cooked into the food. Taking the shaker off the table removes the temptation of adding more salt to your plate.
Season Food with Herbs and Spices Instead – Natural herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor without adding sodium. You can add fresh herbs and spices while cooking or buy some premixed shakers at the grocery. Mrs. Dash offers many flavor varieties to complement any meal.
For those who love the flavor of salt, it may be hard at first to cut down. The trick to making any lasting change is to make one small change at a time. Your taste buds will adapt. Maybe you can employee these suggestions with just 1 meal per day at first, or replace just one canned food item to start. The key is start making 1 small change, then another, then another. Soon you will find that you don’t miss all that salt – you may even find that enjoy food more!