More flavour, less salt!
Most of us eat too much salt, but it's easy to cut down if your meals are packed with flavour, says safefood placement student, Emma McCarley.
We can all be guilty of adding too much salt when cooking, as well as being overly generous with the salt-shaker at the table. Research shows that most of us are consuming more salt than we need, around twice the recommended maximum level of intake. We only need a small amount of salt each day, about 4g but no more than 6g, which is approximately 1 level teaspoon.
Overall, 70% of the salt we eat comes from salt already added to processed, pre-packaged foods and restaurant foods, and 20% comes from salt added at the table. Eating too much salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure which is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease.
At home, we mainly use salt to add flavour to our meals, but we can achieve this flavour in other ways. So for International Salt Awareness week, why not try replacing salt with these flavour boosters:
- Black pepper
- Dried spices such as cumin or coriander
- Fresh and dried herbs such as parsley, mint or sage
- Lemon juice and zest
These alternatives can be added to pasta dishes, scrambled eggs, pizza, fish or soup (just to name a few!) instead of salt.
Stock cubes and gravy can be high in salt. Next time you are in the supermarket, look for low-salt varieties. If you have some extra time, you can try making your own stock instead of using cubes or granules. Do this by chopping up some vegetables, cover with water, add some herbs and garlic and allow to simmer. It’s that easy!
Some of our favourite sauces such as ketchup, soy sauce, black bean and certain salad dressings can be high in salt. There is no need to cut these sauces from your diet altogether, but have them in moderation. Try choosing the low-salt varieties where you can or diluting the sauces with water.
Other small steps to lower our daily salt content:
- Remove the salt shaker from the table
- Compare salt content on food packaging before buying items (Read more on food labels here)
- Keep ready meals to a minimum
- Eat less processed meats/smoked foods e.g., ham, bacon, sausages, smoked fish
- Choose low salt varieties for stock cubes and gravy granules
Try some of our low-salt recipes that are packed with flavour:
- Neven Maguire’s Chicken Korma
- Moroccan vegetable tagine
- Chicken and ginger curry with fragrant rice
- Pasta with olive oil, garlic and chilli
- Rice noodles with vegetable chilli sauce