Wed, 04 October 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Easy ways to cut down on salt

Update : 03 Jun 2023, 13:48

Salt is a vital ingredient in cooking that will absolutely make or break your dish. We know that excess salt in processed food and ready meals is a problem. Health experts have long insisted we need to cut back on salt.  

Here are some easy ways to cut back on salt-

Check food labels

Use the nutrition information panel to find foods with the lowest sodium per 100g. To keep it simple when looking on a food label, less is best!

Take salt off the table

Tastes and eating habits are formed early by children. If your family regularly uses table salt and salty sauces, remove them from the table to reduce your reliance on using sauces to add flavour to meals.

Cut down on processed food

Processed food like nuggets and sausages are all high in salt, as are takeaways, so avoid having them too often. If you eat takeaways once a week, watch your salt intake for the rest of that week.

Select condiments with care

Soy sauce, bottled salad dressings, dips, ketchup, jarred salsas, capers, mustard, pickles, olives and relish can be sky-high in sodium. Look for a reduced- or lower-sodium version.

Experiment with herbs and spices
Oregano is an easy way to amplify flavour in any dish. You can also try  fresh rosemary or sage. Add flavour with herbs, spices, citrus, dressings and vinegar in place of salt. 

Choose umami over salty
Soy, parmesan and mushroom powder are the secret weapons cooking. Drizzle dark soy or tamari while cooking or as a dressing before serving, or add dried cep or porcini powder to sauces and risottos at the start of cooking.

Find alternatives to salty water
Cook new potatoes in chicken stock not salted water, so they pick up natural salts and more flavours and nutrition from the stock.

Cook carrots in orange juice with star anise – both complement the carrot and add deeper background notes. Cook thinly sliced savoy cabbage in a tiny knob of melted unsalted butter with caraway seeds in a pan, allowing the cabbage’s water content to exude and fold over until cooked al dente.

Taste your food before adding salt

If you think it needs a boost of flavor, add freshly ground black pepper or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and test it again before adding salt. Lemon and pepper are especially good on fish, chicken and vegetables.

Be prepared when eating out

Although it’s difficult to know how much salt is in dishes when eating at a restaurant or from a takeaway, there are a few things you can keep in mind. Cured meats such as pepperoni are always high in salt and some cheeses like cheddar cheese are high in salt too, so swap these for things like chicken, vegetables and low-salt cheese like mozzarella. Dressings can be high in salt and calories so ask for them on the side so you can control how much you add to your food.

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