Salt Alternatives For a Healthier You

So you get the news from the dreaded blood pressure cuff. You still have high blood pressure. Your doctor tells you that you have to change your diet. Cut back on the beloved salt. They threaten you with big scary words associated with high blood pressure such as STROKE. KIDNEY DAMAGE. VISION LOSS. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. HEART FAILURE.

How and where do you even begin? First I would start by cutting back on some common foods with high salt content. You can see some of the top offenders in my other article here. If you have been paying some attention, you have probably figured out that the best way to avoid salt is to start making food yourself instead of buying frozen meals, eating out, and eating all that processed food. Well how the heck are you supposed to flavor your food now?  Below I have created a list of great ways to season your food without using salt. Give some of these a try and let me know how it turns out!

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1. Mrs Dash Original Salt Free Blend {affiliate}
Most of us have come across this salt alternative. Mrs. Dash is a great place to begin for those trying to avoid salt. All of the different Mrs. Dash varieties are salt free and offer unique flavors to spice up your food.

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2. Garlic. I am a huge fan of garlic. For the simplest method, try using garlic powder. You can also buy jars of minced garlic (which typically do not have salt). The best way of course is to get fresh garlic and chop it up yourself or use a Garlic Press like the one I use. {affiliate}
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3. Lime is a great alternative to salt. Just squeeze a quarter of a lime over your entire dish just before serving. Stir and serve! Lemon is also  a good option to squeeze over your favorite dishes. Try lime over more of your spicy dishes, while using lemon on your more mellow creations.

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4. No Salt. No salt is a salt alternative for those of use who just can’t live without a salt taste. This product is made with potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Definitely worth a try!

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5. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt?? Depending on where you look, some sources like the american heart association will tell you that sea salt or kosher salt may have less sodium than regular table salt because of the larger crystals, while others such as the mayo clinic say you get the same amount of sodium in all of them. As the results are inconclusive at this time, it is likely best to use all salt products in moderation.

What salt alternatives have you tried?

Happy Salting,

~HealthyGirl

 

Top Saltiest Foods You Should Avoid

Currently the American Heart Association recommends 1500 mg of salt daily or LESS. One measly little TEASPOON of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. So what? Why does it matter? According to the CDC, the average american consumes almost 3500 milligrams of salt a day. That is over double what we should be consuming. The biggest concern with a high sodium diet is high blood pressure. Over years, high blood pressure can lead to major health problems such as kidney damage, vision loss, stroke and heart failure. Changing your eating habits now can have a big impact on your future health.

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So How on earth are you ever going to kick your dearest companion…SALT?

The two biggest places we consume our salt from is processed foods and eating out. Look up any package of Pasta Roni or Hamburger Helper and you will be astounded by the amount of salt. How about a jar of Salsa? You would be surprised the foods that can be loaded with salt, and dont even bother picking up a package of ramen noodles again. One package of ramen noodles contains over 1500 mg of sodium!

So first, what are the saltiest foods one should avoid when trying to achieve a low sodium diet?

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1. Fast food. Just a simple double cheeseburger and fries will set you back 1230 mg . In fact eating out in general is going to put a lot of sodium in your diet. Try to look at the sodium content of the menu before ordering. Items that have to be made fresh will probably be your best bet.

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2. Table salt. Of course you knew this was coming. Just dont even add it to your food when you cook. Stay away. In fact did you know that baking soda and baking powder are also high in salt? For some salt alternatives, check out my other article here!

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3. Dressing and Sauces. Now I’m taking away your SAUCE? I know I know it breaks my heart too. Your beloved terayaki sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and steak sauce are all packed with sodium. Time to get with the kids and start singing “Let it go” as you clean out the cabinets.

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4.Cured meat. Meat is cured with SALT! Our favorite foods such as salami and bacon are now a rare treat. This also applies to many of the cold cut varieties we use on our sandwiches. Welcome to the world of adulthood. Might as well pass the bacon to the dog.

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5. Pickeld foods. Relish, saurkraut, pickles, jalapenos. All of these foods are processed with salt and carry a hefty sodium content. Try to eat in moderation.

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6. Canned foods. Canned beans, veggies, pretty much all canned foods are going to be loaded with salt. Try to stick with frozen vegetables and raw beans ( I know I know its no fun to cook them yourself). If you must use canned veggies or beans, I recommend rinsing them lightly in a strainer if you can. Other canned items like soups and broths may have lower sodium options, which is always worth a try.

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7. Roasted nuts and seeds. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and many nuts are salt roasted and can pack a hefty salt punch. Try eating pre shelled sunflower seeds, or unsalted/raw nuts.

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8. Packaged soups. This is your typical ramen noodles, cup of noodles, maruchen ramen. So easy. So cheap! Its hard to stay away! However, simply cooking the noodles themselves without the sauce and making your own seasoning might be a better option.

The bottom line is, if you want to reduce the sodium you are consuming, these saltiest foods have to be eaten in moderation or avoided completely. Drinking plenty of water, using salt alternatives and eating foods high in potassium can help combat high blood pressure and the many complications that stem from it.

Happy Eating!

~HealthyGirl

Vegetarian Feta Spring Salad

 

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20140509_154419[1]One request I keep getting is to post more salad ideas. It can get very boring eating the same old salad day after day and expecting to stick with this so called “healthy eating.” Well I am here to help you with that journey, because I too, have a hard time with salads unless you buy it in the package. I am picky, and I never seem to have all the right ingredients to make it work.

So we will start with the Feta Spring Salad! This Salad is a quick yummy salad that you can take with you on the go to work, or make for a nice side salad with dinner. This salad keeps you surprisingly full, so it is a great high protein, calorie cutting meal.

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  • 20140509_153730[1]1 handful of salad spring mix ( I prefer Organic as it is usually the same price!)
  • 1/3 diced tomato
  • 4-5 chopped baby carrots
  • handful of chopped peanuts
  • sprinkle of black pepper
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar

This salad is best prepared in a container with a lid so you can shake it all together and mix the dressing really good! Start with your spring mix in a bowl and add the diced tomato, baby carrots, nuts, feta and pepper and mix. Then add your olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkling them all around the salad. Secure a lid over the salad bowl (or a small plate) and shake it all up! This salad is completely vegetarian, and is vegan without the feta.

Happy Eating,

~ HealthyGirl

What variations have you tried on this feta spring salad to spice it up? Comment below!