Broths, stocks and bouillon cubes are an easy and convenient way that I add flavour to many of my favourite recipes including mushroom risotto, Mexican tortilla soup and poached salmon. This can be an easy way to pack flavour into a dish, but unfortunately, many of the commercially produced broths, stocks and bouillon cubes have huge amounts of sodium. The average Canadian eats twice as much sodium as recommended and about 75% of that sodium comes from processed foods.
To find out just how much sodium these store-bought convenience products contain, I decided to take a trip to the grocery store. Strolling down the aisles, I found a variety of products with one common feature- lots of sodium. Some broths contained as much as 2/3 of the daily recommended amount of sodium (1500 mg per day for adults) per serving. To my dismay, many of the products claiming “reduced sodium” still contained almost half of the daily recommended intake of sodium per serving. Happily, I did find a few no added salt products.
In my own kitchen, I tend to prepare my own broths and stocks. My brother taught me a time and money saving trick. Whenever I am cooking, I collect and freeze left over pieces of vegetables such as ends of onions, celery stocks and carrots. Then, when I have lots of frozen veggie bits and a few extra minutes, I boil up a batch of stock (no salt of course). I freeze the stock in smaller portions for later use. Sometimes, I boil down the stock for more concentrated flavor and I freeze the concentrated stock in ice cube trays.
Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to make my own stock, so I purchase the salt free stocks or bouillon cubes. If those are not available, I will occasionally purchase the low sodium options. I look for products that contain less than 480 mg of sodium per 250 ml serving - this is the Health Check™ guideline for soups set out by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I also make a point to use less than the recommended amount of bouillon cubes.
I have found these strategies successful in decreasing the sodium I eat from broths, stocks and bouillon cubes.
What works in your kitchen?
Today's guest blog is written by registered dietitan, Sophia Baker-French. Thanks Sophia!