HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Low sodium?

j
Jennifer Feb 21, 2006 10:43 PM

Due to health reasons we need to go low-sodium. I was surprised that there are not too many cookbooks out there. I would love to hear any low-sodium tips, ideas, cookbooks that you recomend! Thank you in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. n
    nooodles RE: Jennifer Feb 21, 2006 11:56 PM

    Don't kill me for this boring response: get used to it.

    I have never liked very salty foods, to the point that many people find my cooking too unsalty. I find most restaurant food too salty, no matter the price range, cuisine, etc. I just feel like if I buy good raw ingredients, I don't need that much salt to bring out flavor. After eating with me for years, my boyfriend eats less salt now too.

    1. m
      mark RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 08:02 AM

      how low sodium do you want to go?

      i've been using less sodium for years, just because i prefer the taste of food rather than salt. here are a few of my strategies:

      when cooking for others, i use the called for amount, but i use kosher instead of table salt. you get about half the sodium this way (i use morton's which is a pretty big crystal), and i never hear complaints about the food not being salty enough.

      when cooking for myself, i still use kosher, but use only half the called for amount. this gives you about one quarter the sodium.

      on the rare occasions that a dish seems to lack flavor, i increase the other flavor components (spices, garlic, etc.) instead of adding salt.

      i'm sure you already know this, but i'll say it anyway. read the labels; it's amazing how much sodium is in packaged foods. pay special attention to the serving size as this is a trick they use to hide how bad something is for you. when i cook with packaged ingredients (chicken broth, beans, etc.) i leave out the salt completely as the packaged goods contain plenty of sodium for my taste.

      i know many disagree with this, but my feeling is that salt doesn't bring out the flavor, it just tastes like salt. we are conditioned to the taste, and miss it when it's not present. i know when i started reducing sodium, for the first couple weeks or so, food tasted flat. then, once my taste buds were conditioned to it, it tasted fine. now, most packaged and restaurant foods taste too salty to me.

      1. c
        ChiliDude RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 08:20 AM

        This reply may not be of much help, but I'm posting it anyway.

        If you use tomato sauce in what you cook, get Hunt's No Salt Added. The sodium content stated on the label is 15 mg. per serving. We used another brand with an Italian name for years that kept being sold from one purveyor to another until we noticed that it now contains high fructose corn sweetener. This was not an ingredient when we first used it years ago. I know that has nothing to do with sodium.

        You probably could use the cookbooks already in your collection. Cook with less or no salt. If you must use salt, use Kosher salt. It has a lower salinity than fine particle table salt. My wife and I taste our cooked food before adding anything to it.

        My wife and I have stopped salting our baked potatoes years ago. If you must use something to add flavor to food, add a salt-free combination of herbs.

        Buon Appetito!

        1. a
          AnneInMpls RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 10:55 AM

          Lemon juice can perk up a dish that seems to need salt.

          While a low-sodium diet seems bland at first, you can gradually retrain your tastebuds to like low-salt and no-salt food. I've done it, but have slowly slid back to the high-salt lifestyle. Convenience food and restaurant food can erase a lot of progress, so be careful of these.

          Good luck,
          Anne

          1. b
            Bj RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 11:31 AM

            I have also needed to reduce sodium in our diets and it is hard to get used to. Use more herbs, spices and garlic. A squirt of lemon juice usually livens up the taste. If you have the time, make your own soups, use fresh vegetables, dried beans ect. Anything canned is notorious for high sodium content. There are many labelled low sodium products on the market. Keep your eyes open for them. Every bit of sodium cut out helps. In a short time your system will not crave the saltiness that you have been use to and you will find that you are tasting the true flavour of foods as it should be.

            1. b
              bibi rose RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 11:42 AM

              A lot of foods can be perked up with balsamic or other vinegar. Cooking with wine is your friend too. So are hot spices and condiments (but watch for sodium content in condiments), black pepper and ginger. I agree that sodium in processed foods is pretty much a waste. If you want salty flavor that much you are better off with a sprinkling of coarse salt.

              If you can visit a Penzey's or Spice House they will hook you up with low or lower-sodium preparations. I guess you can order them too but it's easier to find things you like on the spot.

              I bought that product called NoSalt as a potassium substitute. Unlike other "lite" salts it is all potassium, no sodium. I think it tastes awful but some people like it as a condiment. Better ask your doctor about that though; potassium is really tricky.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bibi rose
                m
                mariannas RE: bibi rose Mar 13, 2008 07:25 PM

                Yes. DO NOT use a salt sub if you are a kidney disease patient. Potassium and salt intake need to be limited since the kidneys can't filter out the potassium as easily and salt makes people retain water.

              2. s
                semmel RE: Jennifer Feb 22, 2006 02:12 PM

                I love, love, love salt! But my doctor ordered me to go on an ultra-low sodium diet, usual low sodium is 4 grams/day, ultra-low is 2 grams.

                Most canned soups you have to avoid, but there are low sodium ones and not just in health stores.

                I'd recommend seafood and Italian. I've never salted a fish or a mussel dish. Never salt my pasta water. If you track carefully, you can even do a spaghetti carbornara.

                1. m
                  metroshopper RE: Jennifer Mar 13, 2008 06:48 PM

                  heartwisefood.com is a site that has over 600 foods and a few really good cookbooks-my favorite was 500 Low Sodium Recipes by Dick Logue. Good Luck!

                  Show Hidden Posts