Tips for cutting back on sodium

To cut down on the amount of sodium in your diet:

  • Eat out less often. Choose restaurants where food is cooked to order and ask questions about or make requests for food preparation. Ask for proteins grilled without marinades or added salt; oil and vinegar on the side in place of prepared salad dressings; skip the soy or dipping sauce that arrives with sushi.
  • Add more foods containing potassium to daily eating. Potassium-rich foods also help to blunt the effects of salt on blood pressure. Good sources of potassium are dried fruits; strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe and oranges; beets, greens and tomatoes; dried beans; turkey, fish and beef.
  • In the meat department, read labels to determine if fresh meat or poultry has been salted, marinated or injected with a salty solution.
  • Look for canned vegetables packed without salt, or rinse and drain canned vegetables and beans to reduce sodium content before cooking. Or switch to fresh or frozen vegetables (without added sauce).
  • Check not only the sodium content on the nutrition label but also the serving size.
  • To reduce the taste for salt, cut back on salt gradually used in cooking or at the table. Experiment with herbs and spices for seasoning.
  • Make homemade soups, using from-scratch broth or canned or packaged low-sodium varieties.
  • Cut back on foods that require larger amounts of salt in processing: cured foods such as deli meats, bacon and hot dogs, pickles and condiments such as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

— The Hartford Courant

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