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Plan Low Sodium Meals

August 14, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Let your taste buds enjoy the flavour of food with less sodium! 

Buy lower sodium food to prepare healthier meals at home.

Read the information on food packages:

  • Buy unsalted and lower sodium foods whenever possible. Look for the words "sodium-free", "low sodium", "reduced sodium," or "no added salt" on the package.
  • Compare food labels. Buy the products with the lowest amounts of sodium.
  • Look for foods that contain less than 360 mg of sodium per serving.
  • You can also use the % Daily Value (%DV) on the label to compare products and to see if the food has a little or a lot of sodium.
  • Look for products with a sodium content of less than 15% DV.
  • Here is a helpful guide:
    Sodium Daily Value Guide
  • Check the food labels often because product ingredients may change.

Make wise choices from the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide:

  • Vegetables and Fruit - Buy fresh or frozen vegetables whenever you can. Look for canned vegetables that are lower in sodium. Buy lower sodium vegetable juice and tomato juice.
  • Grain Products - Choose breads, breakfast cereals, and bakery products that are lowest in sodium. Enjoy a variety of grains such as barley, quinoa and rice which are naturally sodium free.
  • Milk and Alternatives - Enjoy milk and yogurt because they are lower in sodium.
  • Meat and Alternatives - Buy unseasoned meat, poultry, fish, seafood and tofu. Choose unsalted nuts. Buy low sodium canned beans or try dried beans, peas and lentils.
 
FIND OUT MORE: Registered dietitians are your most trusted source for nutrition information. You can find a dietitian at your local community health centres or through your physician. Here are some recommended resources to help you and your family eat less sodium: Speak to a dietitian toll free by calling HealthLink BC - dial 8-1-1, Health Canada and Dietitians of Canada

Prepare your own meals often, using little or no salt to reduce your overall salt intake.

Make healthy low sodium meals and snacks. Here are some meal and snack ideas from our registered dietitians that will help reduce your salt intake.

  • Eat fewer pre-packaged foods and ready-to eat take-out foods.
  • Make your own soups, sauces and salad dressings. Find quick and easy recipes at
    Dietitians of Canada.
  • Enjoy more vegetables and fruit. Use fresh or frozen instead of canned whenever possible.
  • Cook pasta, rice or hot cereal without added salt.
  • Taste your food before adding salt.
  • Follow these simple tips to cut back on sodium every day:
    Try... Instead of...
    Fresh fruit and vegetables, unsalted popcorn or unsalted nuts Chips, salted pretzels or other salty snacks
    Rice cooked in water or juice Rice cooked in salty broth
    Yogurt Cottage cheese
    Sandwiches made with roasted meat or poultry Sandwiches made with canned or deli meat
    Fresh or dried herbs and spices, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, lime juice, onions and pepper. Salt, kosher salt, sea salt, gourmet salt, smoked salt, celery salt, garlic salt or onion salt
    Oil, unsalted margarine or unsalted butter Salted margarine or salted butter

Reduce sodium in the foods you use.

  • Rinse canned vegetables and canned beans, peas and lentils in cold water to wash away some of the sodium.
  • Use less of the seasoning that comes with taco kits, boxed macaroni and cheese or instant rice mixes.
  • Use less salt than what the recipe calls for (except when baking).
  • Use less ketchup, soy sauce, and other condiments, or try a lower sodium option.

Add flavour without sodium:

  • Basil - tastes great with tomatoes and pasta
  • Cumin - adds flavour to soups, stews and sauces
  • Curry - good with meat, poultry and stews
  • Dill - wonderful with fish, potatoes and eggs
  • Oregano - perfect in pasta, soups and salads
  • Paprika - good with seafood, vegetables, potato salad and eggs
  • Rosemary - delicious with chicken, lamb and pork
  • Thyme - tasty with chicken, veal, salads and vegetables
FIND OUT MORE: Registered dietitians are your most trusted source for nutrition information. You can find a dietitian at your local community health centres or through your physician. Here are some recommended resources to help you and your family eat less sodium: Speak to a dietitian toll free by calling HealthLink BC - dial 8-1-1, Health Canada and Dietitians of Canada

Choose wisely when eating out!

Make lower sodium menu choices

  • Ask for your meal to be cooked with no salt and no MSG, a seasoning that has very high sodium.
  • Ask for gravy, sauces and salad dressings "on the side", and use only small amounts.
  • Order smaller portions or share with someone.
  • Flavour your food with lemon or pepper, instead of adding salt, sauces or gravy.
  • Balance out your day. If you ate a high sodium meal during the day, try to eat a lower sodium meal later.

Find the Best Menu Choices

  • Check the nutrition information of menu items before you order and choose foods with less sodium. This information may be on the restaurant’s website, on a poster, or in a pamphlet at the restaurant.
  • Try these easy ways to cut back on sodium when you eat out:
    If you’re eating Choose this... Instead of...
    North American food
    • lettuce, onions or tomatoes on burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches
    • grilled or roasted chicken sandwich
    • salad with dressing on the side, or a baked potato
    • cheese, ketchup, mustard or pickles on burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches
    • chicken wings, chicken fingers
    • French fries or onion rings
    Chinese food
    • steamed rice, steamed buns or dim sum rice noodle rolls served with sodium reduced soy sauce on the side
    • stir-fry vegetables with garlic
    • steamed fish
    • wonton noodles or rice noodles
    • fried rice or dim sum appetizers served in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce or black bean sauce
    • stir-frying vegetables in oyster sauce
    • BBQ pork or duck
    • chow mein or fried rice noodles
    Indian food
    • plain rice
    • roti or chapatti
    • Tandori dishes
    • pulao or biryani
    • naan or parantha
    • curry dishes
    Italian food
    • grilled fish, meat or poultry
    • pasta in garlic and olive oil sauce
    • pizza with vegetable toppings
    • lasagna or parmigiana dishes
    • pasta in tomato or marinara sauce
    • pizza with bacon, extra cheese or pepperoni
FIND OUT MORE: Registered dietitians are your most trusted source for nutrition information. You can find a dietitian at your local community health centres or through your physician. Here are some recommended resources to help you and your family eat less sodium: Speak to a dietitian toll free by calling HealthLink BC - dial 8-1-1, Health Canada and Dietitians of Canada
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Comments (2)

rochellesmith

Posted on Monday October 1, 2012 a 1:09am

Cool! Thanks for the post. I just thought it was hard. :)

hurrell's picture

Healthy Families BC

Posted on Thursday October 18, 2012 a 10:51am

Thanks Rochelle Smith for your feedback on the sodium reduction tips. We're pleased you found them helpful. Check out our newest feature Shopping Sense at https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/grocery-shopping

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    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
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