Flavor Without The Sodium

February is American Heart Month!

In celebration, I would like to provide you with some great seasoning tips that help reduce or even eliminate sodium from the diet. Leave the “it won’t taste like food” comments at the door. Herbs are a great way to season dishes with an explosion of flavor.

Protip: Use herbs to liven up the presentation of any dish.

Let me introduce some common herbs found at the grocery store (and are also very easy to grow from your own backyard): 


  • Flavor: fresh, grassy 
  • How to use: wash, chop the leaves and stem (stem can be used)
  • What to season: sauces, salads, garnishes, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lamb, beef, chicken, fish, tofu


  • Flavor: bright and citrusy
  • How to use: wash, strip the leaves from the stem, discard the stem and chop the leaves
  • What to season: salsas, guacamole, chutneys, soups, curries, salads, avocado, tomatoes, bell pepper, chicken, fish, shellfish, lamb, lentils, tofu


  • Flavor: pungent, peppery
  • How to use: wash, strip the leaves from the stem, discard the stem and chop the leaves
  • What to season: tomato sauces, pizzas, salad dressings, artichokes, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, chicken, beef, lamb, fish


  • Flavor: woody, pungent
  • How to use: wash, strip the leaves from the stem, discard the stem and chop the leaves
  • What to season: focaccia bread, tomato sauces, pizza, soups, stews, roasted veggies, mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, lamb, pork, fish


  • Flavor: minty
  • How to use: wash, strip the leaves from the stem, discard the stem and chop the leaves
  • What to season: rice, dips, stews, roasted veggies, tomato sauces, carrots, peas, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, chicken, pork, lamb, duck, fish


  • Flavor: sweet, cool
  • How to use: wash, strip the leaves from the stem, discard the stem and chop the leaves
  • What to season: fruit salads, curries, cream sauces, soups, marinades, carrots, eggplant, watermelon, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, beans, lentils, lamb


  • Flavor: sweet and peppery flavor
  • How to use: wash, remove the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. To prevent burning, add to your dishes near the end of cooking.
  • What to season: pestos, tomato sauces, soups, stews, stir-fries or curries. Can also be used to add flavor to bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, chicken, beef, fish or tofu


Salt & Sodium

It’s clear that Americans have a taste for salt, but salt plays a role in high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Adults age 51 and older, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
Think fresh:
Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions, especially cheesy foods, such as pizza, cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli, and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
Enjoy home prepared foods:
Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them
Choose dairy and protein foods that are lower in sodium:
Choose more fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt in place of cheese, which is higher in sodium. Choose fresh beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, rather than those with salt added. Deli or luncheon meats, sausages, and canned products like corned beef are higher in sodium. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds.
Source:  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/ten-tips.html

The DASH Diet

DASH: which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension was a study of the effect of different dietary patterns on reducing high blood pressure. Researchers found that volunteers who followed the DASH diet had significantly lower blood pressure after just a few weeks.
Here are some tips to get you started on the DASH diet:
  • Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner.
  • Add a serving of fruit to your meals or as a snack. Canned and dried fruits are easy to use.
  • Use only half your typical serving of butter, margarine, or salad dressing, and use low-fat or fat-free condiments.
  • Drink low-fat or skim dairy products any time you would normally use full fat or cream.
  • Limit meat to 6 ounces a day. Try eating some vegetarian meals.
  • Add more vegetables and dry beans to your diet.
  • Instead of typical snacks (chips, etc.), eat unsalted pretzels or nuts, raisins, low-fat and fat-free yogurt, frozen yogurt, unsalted plain popcorn with no butter, and raw vegetables.
  • Read food labels carefully to choose products that are lower in sodium.
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Cutting back on foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats
  • Eating more whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts
  • Eating less red meat (especially processed meats) and sweets
  • Eating foods that are rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium
Interested staying on the DASH diet? Here are some suggested serving amounts for the diet.
  • Grains: 7-8 daily servings
  • Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings
  • Fruits: 4-5 daily servings
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings
  • Meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or less daily servings
  • Nuts, seeds, and dry beans: 4-5 servings per week
  • Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings
  • Sweets: try to limit to less than 5 servings per week
Reduce your blood pressure starting today! 
Posted by: SSG