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How can I reduce salt when I cook?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
Try these strategies to reduce salt when you cook:
  • Use fresh garlic, onion and shallots to add flavor not salt.
  • Experiment with a variety of spices like smoked paprika to add tons of flavor without salt.
  • Dried herbs are convenient but try fresh basil, oregano, cilantro or rosemary to really punch up the flavor in your favorite dishes. Keep an herb garden to keep these within easy reach.
  • Marinate fish, chicken and meat in citrus juices which are flavorful and reduce the need for saltiness.
  • Flavored vinegars make a great flavor addition to vegetables. Try drizzling balsamic vinegar over roasted vegetables.
  • Buy no-salt added canned tomatoes and beans and frozen veggies instead of those with added salt, seasonings and sauces. Add your own seasonings.
  • Cut back on salty meats and cheeses in recipes.
  • Cut back on the recommended salt listed for recipes. Except when baking, many recipes taste great without so much sodium. You can always add a touch more when it's done if needed. 
Emilia Klapp
Nutrition & Dietetics
Use lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, and spices instead of salt. Try these other tips:
  • In recipes, omit the salt completely, or cut the amount in half.
  • Add fresh herbs and black pepper to pastas.
  • Use fresh onions, garlic, tomatoes, and bell peppers for sauces.
  • If fresh onions or garlic are not available, substitute onion powder or garlic powder, not onion or garlic salt.
  • Roast vegetables such as eggplant and red peppers to bring out natural flavor.
  • Use low-sodium or no-salt-added tomato sauce or canned vegetables in recipes.
  • Avoid condiments such as teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and commercial salad dressing.
  • Avoid cured foods such as turkey, ham, and bologna.
  • Limit hard cheeses.
  • Read the labels of breads and breakfast cereals to check the sodium content.
  • Include a salad with lunch and dinner. Use extra-virgin olive oil and lemon or vinegar as dressing.
  • Serve two vegetable side dishes with a main entrée. Include a piece of fruit at all main meals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.