Salt-less Challenge: 6 Ways to Cook with Less Sodium (Guest Post)

Hi, I’m Madalyn and am excited to be writing for Court’s blog today! I was lucky to meet Court (virtually) through an online health challenge—Elf 4 Health, organized by Nutritionella—where we were paired to swap blogs for a day. So if your looking for Court, not to worry, she’s on Sweet on Cinnamon today!

Although we are miles apart—me being a Bay Area, California girl—we both have a love for pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Right now, I’m after dairy-free recipes and mastering a headstand. Besides blogging, cooking and being a yogi, I’m a Managing Editor for I Do Venues where I get to look and write about beautiful brides all day!

It’s the holiday season—the season of cooking, baking, eating. It’s when food starts to taunt me, kind of like this “Welcome” pie! This holiday season is the only time of year I see certain traditional family recipes out on the table, and it’s a justification of indulgence I’m proud to admit. I enjoy taking out old family cookbooks and revisiting recipes year after year, like my grandma’s Christmas Eve Cioppino soup! When I make these traditional recipes, I don’t cut back on the butter, salt, oil or fat because it has to taste exactly the same every year. Otherwise, it just “doesn’t taste like how Grandma used to make.”

When I’m not running to a holiday dinner or baking up a storm of cookies, I try to cook healthy. A challenge I set for myself is to limit salt. I’m trying to put down the saltshaker and incorporate salt alternatives. This is when I realized how often I—like many others—reach (habitually!) for salt to add flavor.

According to Mayo Clinic an adult’s recommended daily salt intake is less than 2,300 mg a day, but most consume 3,400 mg of sodium a day. High sodium is bad for the heart and, over time, can contribute to high blood pressure, heart attacks and stokes—not to mention that extra water weight!

Join me and toss that table salt aside! Consider these ingredients as alternatives to table salt:

1. Mushrooms are naturally gifted with an earthy saltiness and can be boiled to produce a broth. Sautée mushrooms until they turn darker, then add ¼ cup of water. Cover and simmer down until the mushrooms make a broth. Stir into rice, polenta, pasta and quinoa.

2. When making rice, pasta or grains, substitute water with chicken, beef or vegetable broth. The grains soak up the broth and the savory broth flavor. Even add the broth when cooking vegetables. Opt for low-sodium broth to reduce your sodium intake.

3. Add rosemary, thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and other herbs and spices to just about any side or main course instead of salt. Experiment with your spice rack!

4. Use citrus and vinegar when broiling or sautéing vegetables. Add a squeeze of lemon or rice wine vinegar to chard, broccoli or brussel sprouts before putting in the oven. The tanginess from the citrus and vinegar won’t have you missing the salt.

5. Cooked onions are perfect for adding flavor to just about any vegetable, soup, or meat entre. Sauté them until soft and sweet.

6. Soy sauce (preferably low sodium) also adds saltiness without making recipes high in sodium. Add low-sodium soy sauce to marinades for meats, fish and vegetable stir-fries.

Once you start limiting salt, you’ll train your taste buds to savor natural flavors and not rely on salt for flavor. I hope this post inspires some experimentation in the kitchen!

Thanks again to Court for having me as a guest and Brianna for arranging this blog swap! Check out my blog at Sweet on Cinnamon, and feel free to connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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