How to Eat a Low Sodium Diet
Last updated: May 2018
I have written about the benefits of a low sodium diet. Now I am going to offer you my fast tips for shopping and eating the low salt way. There is going to be a learning curve and you will have to make some adjustments. Before long though, with a few easy steps, you will find yourself enjoying tasty food that can help you live a longer and healthier life.
To kick off your low salt lifestyle, keep eating your regular diet for a few days. Jot down how much sodium you eat with each meal or snack. Add up the sodium in every portion and do the math at night. This will create a mental awareness and also help you to see what foods take you over the salt line. After you begin cooking and eating better, you will be able to adjust your daily meals up or down to stay at the sodium level that your doctor suggests.
It all begins at the grocery store.
Start out by reading food labels and forget about the calories. That’s right! Remember, if it is low in sodium, it will probably be low in calories as well. When you find a brand that is lower in sodium, make a note of it. Then you can keep it on your list of favorites.
I know from personal experience that the hard part of shopping is finding easy to prepare meals that are low in salt. Note the ingredients of your favorite meals and look for low or no salt versions. For example, I will substitute swiss for cheddar on my nachos. I have a great brand of salsa and also use no sodium beans. I even found no salt taco seasoning and low salt chips! Look at your best meals and see how you can alter the recipe.
Try to eat as much fresh food as possible. They are always lower in sodium than canned. In most cases, you will find that they are more nutrient dense also. This means that your body will actually be able to use the vitamins and minerals more easily and… you will be cooking most meals yourself from fresh ingredients.
Starting out, it will seem like a lot of work. Compared to eating frozen process TV dinners, fast food, or lunchmeat, it IS a lot more work. By the time you gather the ingredients, cook, and then eat, you may be grumbling at your doctor. Don’t give up! Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to stir up familiar dishes the healthy low sodium way!
Fast Track to Low Sodium:
- Eat your regular diet and see how much salt to eat now.
- Adjust your salt intake to keep it at or around 2,000 mg per day.
- Read your food labels at the grocery store.
- Eat fresh food.
- Cook from scratch.
- Reap the rewards!
You will quickly notice the benefits of a low sodium diet. Your doctor will be so proud that you are partnering with them in your health care. You will have less ascites. You will also reduce your risk of stroke or other heart problems. Congratulations! You’re on your way!