Low Sodium but still tasty
Does anyone have some good recipes or tips for cooking low sodium? I am cooking for two people who are trying to reduce sodium for medical reasons. Any help would be appreciated as I am at a loss. If you know of any good cookbooks or websites that would be helpful as well. Thanks in advance.
Are you cooking regularly for these people or just once?
Citrus juice, herbs, fresh ground pepper and mushrooms (not necessarily at the same time) are good ingredients to start with. It's best to cook with fresh everything and avoid prepackaged food whenever possible.
Broiled and herbed fish fillets with a fresh fruit salsa with steamed vegetables
Cooking light magazine, while not always a success, does post nutritional information per serving (but watch what they consider a serving)
Tomatoes, in sauce, paste and even just canned have tremendous amounts of sodium unless you get no salt. Prepackaged broths (even the low sodium kind) are too salty to use for people who really need to keep sodium down. The only exception I've found is Nature's Promise Low Sodium Chicken Broth (The Stop and Shop organic house brand) with 140 mg's of sodium compared to 570 for most brands of low-sodium and 1050 for regular broths. Cooking for my mom can be a challenge, but I draw the line at salt-free bread.
Most processed and prepared foods are too high in sodium for a lo-Na diet. Forget Stouffers et al---frozen prepared stuff---, forget just about everything at the deli counter, and be careful of what's made with baking soda and baking powder. I use a lot of wine, lemon juice, whole cloves, bay leaf, garlic, etc when cooking meat to enhance flavor without salt. Use lemon juice on green vegetables. Dried dill is good with green beans. Make yeast waffles instead of using baking powder and use yeast rolls instead of biscuits, muffins, etc.. Anything in an Asian restaurant is likely to be too high in sodium but you can make very passable Chinese-type food at home if you're careful what you put in it (egg foo yong works well). Be compulsive about reading nutritional labels and know how much sodium the person is allowed per day---it's a long way from 1000 mgm to 2000 mgm. I would say that the most important rule is to cook food using real ingredients because in most cases commercial processing greatly increases the sodium. There are a few exceptions, most of which I seem to find at Trader Joe's, their frozen Pasta Pepperonata being one convenient example.
Thanks for the tips. I am planning an assault on the supermarket this weekend to stock up on some of your suggested items. I cook daily (usually twice) so I am sure it will be challenging. Fortunately, over the past few years, I have weaned myself off of virtually all prepared supermarket foods so I shouldn't suffer too much withdrawl in that area. Just a different way of approaching cooking. Thanks again!
The Mrs Dash marinades are a lifesaver... even my husband likes them (and he's a fervant salt addict!) They're so much nicer than the overly-salted versions that I use them even though we don't 'have to' - I just add a pinch of salt to them and get something that's salted to my taste rather than the manufacturers...