Enhance Flavor with Herbs & Spices vs. Salt
Current dietary recommendations limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams per day for both men and women. However the average American is used to eating upwards of 3,400 milligrams per day. For those at risk for heart disease, which includes people over 50 years old and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the sodium limit is 1,500 milligrams or 1.5 grams per day.
One teaspoon of salt is equivalent to 2,300 milligrams of sodium. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s actually enough to meet the daily recommendation for sodium!
Your Low Sodium Playbook
Practice low-sodium cooking- cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to control the amount of sodium in your food. When preparing your own foods, follow some of these tricks to keep your meal as low in sodium as possible:
- Rinse all canned beans and vegetables under cold water before cooking with them
- Hold the salt, and season with herbs and spices instead
- Rosemary, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, paprika, ginger, garlic, black pepper, chili powder, lemon zest, etc are just some of the inspiring ways to add flavor without upping sodium
- Use citrus juice and vinegars in place of slat in sauces and marinades
- When baking, add less baking soda or baking powder since these rising agents contain a fair amount of sodium
Common Spices & What They Can Be Used In
Basil: Pesto, salads, sauces, meats, fish and soups. Pairs well with carrots, eggplant, potatoes, squash, spinach and tomatoes
Bay: Use in soups, sauces or pickling solutions. Add to marinade solutions for meat or fish
Cayenne: Used frequently in Cajun, Creole, Spanish, Mexican, Szechuan, Thai and East Indian Recipes.
Cinnamon: Versatile spice that complements a wide variety of foods and other spices. Works well with poultry, in curries and with fruit, particularly apples and pears. Add to casseroles or eggplant, squash and carrot dishes.
Coriander- leaf or seed (Cilantro): Combines nicely with beets, onions, potatoes and lentils. Add to salads, salsas, soups, stews, curries and rice dishes.
Cumin: Complements chicken, lamb, beans, lentils, vegetables and rice dishes. Excellent in carrot or cabbage dishes.
Dill: Combines well with fruits, vegetables, fish, egg and poultry. Should be added to the end of cooking time, since heat can destroy its delicate flavor
Fennel: Salads, soups, fish and vegetable dishes. Also complements rice, potatoes, tomato, egg and apple dishes.
Ginger: Curries, stews and stir-fries. Complements poultry.
Mint: Use fresh in salads, marinated vegetables, legumes or tomato based soups or stews. Also good in dips, dressings, yogurt or lamb dishes.
Nutmeg: Can be used in either sweet or savory dishes, including pasta sauces, cheese dishes, cake or milk (or milk alternative) puddings.
Oregano: Used in many Mediterranean dishes. Excellent in tomato based sauces and stews. Complements, chicken, fish and meat dishes.
Parsley: Soups, salads, sauces and casseroles. Use with any vegetable, potato or grain dish.
Rosemary: Marinades, vegetables, chicken and fish dishes. Complements roast meats, especially lamb and chicken.
Sage: As a flavoring for stuffing, good with vegetables, cheese and meat dishes, especially pork, game and liver.
Tarragon: Soups, salads fish, chicken and egg dishes, Also good with raw or cooked tomato dishes. Complements, peas, potatoes, broccoli, carrot and asparagus.
Thyme: Used to make bouquet garnish with parsley and bay. Add to stocks, marinades, sups and casseroles. Good with fish, vegetable and game dishes.
Some Helpful Tips:
- You can grow herbs in small window boxes or pots and place them on your window-sill, patio or balcony ready to add to dishes you are preparing
- Citrus fruit juices such as lemon and limes will add a great zesty flavor to fish, chicken and pork – use the grated rind for even more flavor and texture
- Remove the salt-shaker from the table or fill it with herbs and spices instead of salt
Use the following recipe to fill your salt-shaker:
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf, ground
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