“Low salt” food can still have great taste

Explore ways to cut down on salt while keeping the flavor in your foods!

We hear and read about it all the time: “Salt isn’t good for you”; “Cut down on sugar”; “Don’t eat fat.” Our bodies need these nutrients in order to function properly, but many of us eat far too many of them. Salt, sugar, and fat are linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Here are some specific ways to cut down on salt and keep the flavor in your foods!

  • Only salt your food after you’ve tasted it.
  • Don’t add salt to the water you cook pasta and vegetables in.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt. Lemon juice or vinegar will often provide the taste you are looking for.
  • Processed meats (like bologna, hot dogs, bacon and lunch meat) generally have a lot of salt. Enjoy them occasionally, but in general it’s best to use unprocessed meats, like real chicken breasts, pork and beef.
  • Many foods have a sodium free version. Check the labels on the foods you like to see if they are available without salt.
  • Take the salt shaker off the table. Having to retrieve it from a cupboard may make you think twice about the amount of salt you eat.
  • Use herbs or salt-free seasoning and spice mixes.
  • Go easy on the condiments: some, like barbeque sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire and ketchup are high in sodium.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods you eat, so that you know how much sugar you are consuming. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a two-page handout to help consumers understand and use the Nutrition Facts Label, as well as an entertaining and educational video  that can be used to assist in making informed food choices.

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have collaborated on an English/Spanish handout that explains even more steps people can take to reduce their sodium intake.

Our colleagues at University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension have an informative handout that includes a chart that tells which sodium-free herbs/spices to pair with foods. You can also test your salt savvy by taking their interactive online quiz on dietary sodium.

Did you find this article useful?