Healthy Substitutions for Salt (Part 2)

This week, we continue to look at alternative ways to keep meals flavorful while cutting back on the salt. In part 1, we covered 3 different ways to add healthy flavor alternatives to your meals. Today, let’s look at three more options available to you.



If you like a little heat with your meals, then cayenne pepper is a great option. It can be purchased in small bottles as cayenne powder or cayenne flakes. Cayenne pepper can be strong; make sure to start with a small amount at first in order to see how much you prefer. Add a pinch to soups and dips to enhance flavor or as a marinade to meat dishes. Studies have shown that cayenne pepper may act as a useful vasodilator, which helps expand your blood vessels. The result is a decrease in blood pressure helping to preserve heart health.



Turmeric is a spice that comes in powder form and is known for its distinct orange yellow color. It is popular in Asian, Middle Eastern, and northern African dishes. Turmeric is used to flavor rice, curry dishes, and can be combined with ginger when added to meat dishes. It has recently been touted as one of the best spices to add into healthy eating habits. Studies have shown that turmeric may be one of the best anti-inflammatory aids and may improve the health of the inner lining of blood vessels.



There are a wide array of vinegars with a variety of flavors that can be used to flavor your foods. Most vinegars have 3 to 4 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon, which is quite low. The most popular versions of vinegar for flavoring are balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and a mix of vinegar and olive oil. Vinegar can be added to sauces, used as a topping, or used as a side garnish. Some studies have shown that vinegars may assist to improve insulin resistance and are high in certain antioxidants.


Now, when you think about “eating healthy”, it doesn’t have to be boring or flavorless. There are many more options to flavor your foods out there, not just salt. Obviously, there will be certain flavorings you will like and some you will not enjoy. Give them a try and see which flavorings you can add to your eating habits.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Healthy Substitutions for Salt (Part 1)

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


No Wrong Way to Get Started

We all have our own unique motivations for living a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to exercise, there are many ways people become active, like sports or training with a friend. There is no wrong way to get started being physically active. I had a fairly unique beginning which grew to much more over time.


As a young child, I played sports like baseball and hockey; I never saw that as exercise, and I never trained outside of those sports. I quit playing sports while I was still young and remained inactive for several years. I put on weight and was quite out of shape. (The required one mile run in gym class soon became my nemesis) What lead to my return to being physically active was actually more accidental than intentional.


I was recently asked what inspired me to make exercise a priority in my own life. Honestly, I could not remember how I started being active on a regular basis, but after a day of dwelling on that question, the answer came back to me. In eighth grade, I was a huge sports fan and would watch ESPN as much as I could, especially in the morning before school. ESPN was channel 25, and ESPN 2 was channel 27. I would flip back and forth between the two channels to watch as much sports coverage as possible. As I flipped between ESPN and ESPN 2, I would often see a flash of a bright, beautiful beach that caught my attention. It was channel 26, and I eventually decided to stop and see exactly what it was.


Channel 26 was Lifetime, “Television for Women.” It was Denise Austin’s morning workout show. Whether I stopped for the beautiful beach or the pretty woman, I can’t really seem to remember. I watched it in little bits during ESPN commercials and I began to say to myself, “I can do this.” So I did. I started slowly doing body weight exercises in my bedroom before school. This was the beginning of my regular exercise routine. To this day, some of my favorite core exercises are ones I learned from her shows. After following along in my room for a few episodes, I started to feel stronger and began to look more toned. Probably not how most teenage boys start a regular exercise regimen.


So why share this funny tidbit about my life with you? There is a very important lesson to be learned from this story. As I stated, the beginning of my regular exercise routine was different than many other teenage boys my age. That is exactly the point of this story. There is not a wrong way to get started with your exercise routine as long as it is done safely. Whatever type of exercise you start with is OK, there are so many types of exercise and ways to get started. Whatever way you decide to start can lead to more success down the line. You just have to get started.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant