Eating well

Reducing Salt and Sodium Intake

Initially, do not totally cut salt out of your diet. Gradually reduce the salt used to allow yourself  to get used to change of taste. See the tips and table below for ideas on how to cook using no or low salt options. You can also ask a nutritionist for low salt recipes.

  • Choose fresh food and vegetables
  • Avoid processed foods such as pickled vegetables and canned meat
  • As much as possible, choose processed foods with low sodium such as canned fruits and frozen vegetables
  • Avoid flavor enhancers with high sodium such as salad dressings, soy sauce, mushroom sauce, tomato sauce, mustard, pickled radish, etc.
  • Choose natural herbs and seasonings (fresh is best) such as: basil, dill, parsley, curry powder, chili powder, onion, garlic, ginger, green onion and lemon
  • Use less salt when cooking
  • Do not add extra salt during meals
  • Use salt substitutes, but pay attention to the amount as the blandness of the food might lead to over use, which defeats the purpose*

*Please note: Consult a dietician when using salt substitutes as long term consumption of these substitutes can harm the body. Many salt substitutes use potassium and too much potassium can harm the kidneys, leading to high blood pressure and heart problems.

Tips for eating out:
  1. Take-outs and restaurant foods use a lot of spices and salt, therefore avoid adding soy sauce or spices and avoid gravy and thick sauce.
  2. When eating out, choose soup noodle, stewed, steamed or braised dishes. Avoid fried rice, fried noodles, and other fried food.
  3. Avoid fast foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, etc. Fast foods have high sodium content.
  4. During banquets, one tends to overeat. Pay attention to the amount of food you eat especially those high in sodium. Using water to rinse away too much soy sauce or oil is a solution.

No salt or low salt cooking
Method Choices    Example
(1) choose fresh food Vegetable, mushroom, fish, tofu Steam, braise, pan fry, grill or bake to retains the food’s flavor
(2) add to salt-free broth Vegetables, mushroom, fresh chicken, lean pork to make broth Add radish (蘿蔔) , seaweed ( 海帶), Chinese mushroom (香菇),  dried fish (柴魚), dried shellfish (貝類), etc to enhance flavour
(3) sodium free spice or seasoning (a)sour Lemon juice, fresh tomatoes, tomato puree (not ketchup), white vinegar, salt-free French vinegar, low fat salad dressing
(b)Spices/ flavouring (香料味) Five spice powder (五香粉), chili powder, curry powder, basil, dill, parsley, onion, garlic, lemon grass(香芧), chives(韮菜), enhances flavour
(4) food with oil Vegetable oil low in saturated fats Canola (芥花籽油), rapeseed (菜籽油), olive( 橄欖油), corn (粟米油), sesame ( 芝麻油)  (also contain fat, be careful with servings)
(5) low salt gravy/sauce Vegetable or fish broth Add water to cornstarch, mix with low salt flavor enhancer to make a healthier gravy/sauce

 

Content by Jenny Ho, Registered Dietitian