10 Easy Ways to Reduce Sodium

Who needs the salt shaker? Not you when you make these easy changes in the kitchen.

  • Shaking the Salt Habit
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Photo: Rita Maas

    Shaking the Salt Habit

    There's no need to completely eliminate salt from your cooking–the idea is to learn to use less and find other ways to add flavor. With a few simple substitutions and strategic changes in the kitchen, you can drastically reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

  • Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Sauteéd Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms

    Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned.

    It's hard to beat the flavor of garden-fresh vegetables, so making this switch might just be the easiest change of all. If it's not convenient to buy fresh, go for frozen. As an alternative to green bean casserole with canned cream of mushroom soup and canned onion rings, try fresh green beans, red onion, and wild mushrooms.

    Recipe: Sauteéd Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms

  • Replace bottled salad dressings with homemade.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette

    Replace bottled salad dressings with homemade.

    Bottled salad dressings, while certainly convenient, usually have more than twice the sodium of a homemade dressing because of the sodium-containing preservatives. Make up a batch of this tangy, versatile vinaigrette and use it as is or as the base for additional flavored vinaigrettes.

    Recipe: Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Simmer a pot of homemade soup instead of eating canned.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Theresa's Double-Tomato Soup

    Simmer a pot of homemade soup instead of eating canned.

    One can of tomato soup contains 1,690 milligrams of sodium, while one serving of this homemade version only has 229 milligrams. The recipe still calls for convenience products such as canned tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and canned chicken broth, but it's enhanced with fresh vegetables and herbs.

    Recipe: Theresa's Double-Tomato Soup

  • Roast your own chicken instead of relying on deli rotisserie chicken.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

    Roast your own chicken instead of relying on deli rotisserie chicken.

    Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store deli can be packed with sodium, especially if they're roasted with a seasoning blend or sauce. You can achieve a big sodium savings by roasting your own. A 5-pound chicken will yield about 7 1/2 cups of chopped cooked chicken.

    Recipe: Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

  • Cook dried beans instead of using canned.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Tuscan Bean and Wilted Arugula Salad

    Cook dried beans instead of using canned.

    The convenience of using canned beans comes with a price–a sodium price. For a low-sodium alternative, replace canned beans with dried. One pound of dried beans (about 2 cups) is equal to 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

    Recipe: Tuscan Bean and Wilted Arugula Salad

  • Punch up flavor with herbs and spices instead of salt.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Spicy-Rubbed Salmon with Cucumber Relish

    Punch up flavor with herbs and spices instead of salt.

    Rather than relying solely on salt to season meats, poultry, and fish, tingle your tastebuds with herbs and spices.

  • Get big flavor from meats by braising in an intensely-flavored liquid.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

    Get big flavor from meats by braising in an intensely-flavored liquid.

    Brown succulent beef short ribs in a skillet and deglaze with beef broth. Then cook the ribs at low heat for about 3 hours or until they're "fall-off-the-bone" tender. There's only a half-teaspoon of salt in this recipe, and you could probably even leave that out because the rich flavor is coming from the ribs and the red wine sauce.

    Recipe: Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

  • Replace canned chicken broth with homemade stock.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Basic Chicken Stock

    Replace canned chicken broth with homemade stock.

    The sodium really starts adding up when you use regular canned chicken broth in recipes. Not only is this salt-free chicken stock low in sodium, but its flavor far surpasses that of canned broths. When you need the convenience of canned broth, look for reduced-sodium brands.

    Recipe: Basic Chicken Stock

  • Roast or grill vegetables to add flavor instead of adding salt.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Spicy Grilled Corn

    Roast or grill vegetables to add flavor instead of adding salt.

    The next time you grill corn, instead of reaching for the salt shaker, brush the ears with Thai Hot Sauce. Once you taste this mixture of lime juice, jalapeño peppers, and fresh garlic on the char-grilled corn, seasoning with salt will be the last thing on your mind.

    Recipe: Spicy Grilled Corn

  • Bake your own snack chips.
    By Anne Cain, R.D., MyRecipes, Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dressing

    Bake your own snack chips.

    A little bit of salt goes a long way when it comes to snack foods. When you make your own chips you can control the amount of salt, replace some of it with spices, and round out the flavor with a mouth-watering dip.

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