This week we celebrate Salt Awareness Week (16-22 March) and to help us out with a few tips on how to be kind to our bodies by using salt wisely or introducing a low salt diet is Julie Thomas, Registered Dietitian for My Chef.
S&A Marketing: What are some quick snacks to eat with low salt quantities?
- Freshly cut veggies with homemade hummus (which when made in advance, keeps well in the fridge and is a wonderful accompaniment to fresh veg or even on crackers – see recipe for an alternative to the standard flavoured hummus).
- Fruits are always a handy and convenient snack that are naturally low in sodium.
- Homemade popcorn with minimal salt or if you can, ideally none.
- Boiled eggs make a wonderful, high protein snack – just don’t add any salt or salty spices.
- A few low GI, wholewheat crackers with either fat free or low fat cottage cheese or salt free peanut butter, which yes, does exist – it is often the one with the yellow lid and is both sugar and salt free.
S&A Marketing: How much salt should an adult consume on a daily basis?
When it comes to salt, our main concern is in fact the sodium content of the foods that can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Sodium is something you can look out for on food labels, and the aim is never to exceed 2000mg per day. This is equivalent to ¾ tsp of salt per day – BUT you must remember all the hidden salt in many of the foods available in the supermarket and restaurants today. If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension, then your aim would be around 1500mg per day.
S&A Marketing: How can one get the right balance of flavour within their food without using salt?
Because your taste buds get used to a certain amount of salt in the food, you would need to retrain them by adding slightly less salt to your cooking every time and consciously reduce it till you use much less in your cooking. The use of herbs and other spices is an important way to maximise on flavour by limiting salt (and sodium) in the meal. Experiment with different flavours of herbs and spices to create new flavours and update an old family recipe to something new, tasty and healthier.
S&A Marketing: If adults were to cook with salt – which salt is best to use?
All salts contain approximately the same amount of sodium, however Pink Himalayan salt and natural sea salt contain other minerals not found in regular table salt so they can be used as an alternative. Sea salt and Himalayan rock salt are larger granules, so they don’t dissolve as well in foods but being larger granules, you will use less in a meal so ideal for adding after if you haven’t used any in your cooking. They are however, not fortified with Iodine, like other regular salt on the market. What you can also try is a herb salt, found on the market or you can make your own whereby you add various herbs to salt. There are also low salt alternatives in health shops, but they aren’t suitable for cooking and also not for people on blood pressure medication.
The best is also to remember that if you cook with salt (or stock cubes, never both), to not put the salt shaker on the table or if you must, make sure yours doesn’t have large holes for the salt to come out of – because we are creatures of habit, we tend to shake the same amount every time, so if you change to a salt shaker with smaller holes, you will naturally add less salt with a modified shaker.
S&A Marketing: Can you give us a low-salt recipe?
Julie Thomas: I have listed 2 recipe’s below for you to try
Blitz together the following ingredients to make a delicious high fibre, low GI topping to wholewheat crackers, or even better – a dip for cut vegetables OR as a spread on a sarmie.
2 TBSP sesame seed oil
75ml lemon juice
1 tsp garlic
2 TBSP parsley
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
MOROCCAN CHICKPEA SALAD
½ cup chickpeas
½ small onion, finely chopped
¼ large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 TBSP coriander or parsley, chopped
3 calamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
¼ clove garlic, minced
⅓ tablespoon olive oil
¼ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
90g chicken breast, sliced and cubed
¼ avocado, cubed
Put chickpeas in a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients (except avocado). Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours before serving to develop the flavours. Add avocado before serving.
“Julie is excited to be affiliated with My Chef and to assist with their nutritional guidance and nutritional analysis. She feels that My Chef is a fantastic company that allows people the benefit of home cooked meals that meet certain nutritional guidelines for a health meal. So My Chef offers healthy home-cooked meals ready to order – your dinner is sorted and conveniently just a click away.” My Chef
Give these recipe’s a try and I am sure your body will thank you later.
Till next time, Petals