When a client begins to consider ideas to improve their eating habits, I often hear they will need to cut back on a few food items that they normally consume. One of those is salt, a food item that is often used to make food taste better but is recommended to be kept low in our daily eating habits because excess salt can lead to higher blood pressure levels. When salt is reduced, some individuals worry their food will be boring, mundane, and flavorless. Thankfully, that is not the case. Let’s look into a few items you can use to enjoy your meals while making a change towards healthier eating habits.
A great replacement for salt to add flavor to meals. Different types of citrus and zests exist, so there are multiple options available. Orange, lime, and lemon all fall under the citrus family. They can be purchased in their bottled extract form or can be squeezed directly onto food in their natural state. Not only are salt levels lowered, but adding citrus to foods will increase your intake of vitamin C, potassium, and B vitamins. If you enjoy a light, sour zest flavor, then citrus is a great option.
Garlic and garlic powder can also be used as a salt substitute. It has a pungent taste but becomes much weaker tasting when cooked. It can be diced and put directly on foods, or you may choose to use a small bottle of garlic powder to flavor foods. I recommend avoiding garlic salt as it is a mix of garlic powder and salt, but mostly salt. Garlic has been shown to also have health benefits. Studies have shown that doses of garlic help thin blood and reduce risk of stroke. Garlic is also a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Ginger is a unique spice known for its trademark flavor. It has a mild spicy flavor, but also a hint of sweetness. Fresh ginger has less of a spicy flavor and is sweeter. Ginger is traditionally used in Asian dishes but by no means is limited to just that. It can be used to sweeten seafood dishes and add flavor to chicken meals. Ginger is also a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese. Studies have shown that ginger has properties that assist in reducing inflammation.
These are just some options available that can be used to give your food more flavor when trying to reduce your salt intake. Next week we will go over three more items you can use in place of salt to avoid boring and flavorless meals.
CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant