Cutting Back On Salt

Salt is as important to the American diet as ketchup.  That doesn't make it healthy, however, and many people find it necessary to cut back on the salt content in their diets for a wide variety of reasons.  Yet in a society where sodium-laden fast food is less expensive than a healthy sandwich, it's tempting to just give up and let the salt reign.  If you're in that boat, keep reading for some tips on how you can keep cooking great-tasting food that will keep the salt content of your diet low.

A bottle of salt on a table.

Use lots of herbs and spices.  Stock up your pantry with a well-rounded supply of herbs and spices -- preferably good-quality ones, but you can definitely use the dollar containers in a pinch.  Find a spice primer online, and learn which spices go with which ingredients for the best flavors.  Then, use those herbs and spices liberally.  You'll have to learn how much is too much, but remember that many cultures stray away from using salt at all, so it can be done.

Use herb mixers, like Mrs. Dash, in place of salt.  Sure, some flavoring mixes have MSG or salt (though Mrs. Dash is proudly salt- and MSG-free, and very delicious), so you'll have to watch what you buy.  But others are great flavor boosters without all the unnecessary additives, and the flavors combine well with just about any dish.

Choose naturally flavorful ingredients, like savory meats (pork and lamb are more flavorful, for instance, than beef and chicken), strong-tasting vegetables (such as broccoli and bell peppers), and aromatic grains (think jasmine rice).  Salt is primarily a flavor enhancer, and if your food already has enough flavor, you won't need to pile on the sodium.

Let the salt be in ingredients.  Use a sprinkle of cheese to top off an otherwise mild dish, or add a tiny amount of sausage to your vegetable pasta.  If the salt is already in the ingredients, you won't be able to get carried away as you sprinkle salt into the vegetables during cooking, the pasta water as it boils, and the beef as it browns.

If you must use salt, use unprocessed sea salt to flavor all your foods.  It's very strong, so you won't need a whole lot, and it also provides you with necessary minerals in a natural way.  The worst kind of salt to use is the common table salt you can buy for cheap, so unless you absolutely can't find unprocessed sea salt at a specialty food store, you'll want to stay away from Morton's and other similar brands.

We've got tips for all aspects of frugal living, from garage sales to flea markets to frugal cooking!  Stop by and visit us at -- we'd love to see you there!

Comments (5) -

Cindy Blair
Cindy Blair
2/27/2013 11:30:47 PM #

Personally, I like to eat foods that really tastes good so whenever I cook, I use a lot of condiments like salt and msg. I just knew recently that using a lot of salt on your diet may impose a lot of possible health problems like kidney problems, hypertension, etc. That's why nowadays, I'm already very conscious about it.

Sonnie John Hughes
Sonnie John Hughes
3/9/2013 12:57:21 AM #

My dad has been diagnosed as hypertensive 5 years ago. He's been hospitalized due to mild stroke for atleast 4 times already. That's why we really need to make to a point wherein we really have to comply with his LOW FAT and LOW SODIUM diet.

We may think that it's very easy to do it, but the fact is, it's very hard especially if you are the person whose really into making your food taste good. As his primary caregivers, we also need to eat what he eats because it's a way also to make him compliant of this regimen. When we stared practice with this type of diet, my dad's blood pressure has been constantly normal  and fortunately he hasn't been admitted on hospitals. Thank God! That's why if you have family members who have the same problem as my dad, cutting on your salt is one of the most important things you have to remember.

Morton Friedhof
Morton Friedhof
4/8/2013 6:07:17 AM #

Staying healthy is not a problem if you know how to stay healthy. Those people who are diagnosed with different illnesses with hypertension as an associated symptom maybe the persons who doesn't know how to eat well. We need sodium (found in salt) in our body and it's a major electrolyte we must have. The problem is, people tend to eat more than what is required. Average sodium that must be taken is around 2,300 mg a day, that's less than a teaspoon. Still, American people may consume around a minimum of 3,100 mg a day up to 4,700 a day! Would you still wonder why a great portion of the population dies because of cardiovascular diseases?

Sabriel Redstone
Sabriel Redstone
4/8/2013 6:10:00 AM #

You've got a great information out there Dr. Friedhof? Are you? But at least I got some real info out there. Thanks by the way.

Sabriel Redstone
Sabriel Redstone
4/8/2013 6:14:23 AM #

Not yet, I'm still a studying. I was just sharing a little information. People right now are a bit unconscious of what they take into their bodies.

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