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Flavorful meals without the salt

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    The major sources of sodium in today's diets come from processed and packaged foods. It is very important to make sure to read the food labels on products for sodium content before purchasing them. Opt for products with labels that read, "Low Sodium," "Reduced Sodium," or "No Salt Added." Better yet, cook at home where you can control the amount of salt.

    A mere teaspoon of salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium, which is well over the recommended daily amount. To start cutting back on salt consumption, begin adding less salt to your foods over time. Your taste buds will adapt throughout this process, and you will begin to enjoy less salty foods and find that foods with higher amounts of salt taste "too salty." Also, put the salt shaker away; keep it off the table to help discourage using it.

    If your salt intake is limited, there are other good options that can give interest to your meals; herbs and spices add delicious flavor and aroma to cooked meats, grains, vegetables, fruits, and salads. Many of them also provide health benefits. Consider using some of the following seasonings when making your favorite foods. Experiment with mixing and matching them — try smelling the herb/spice combination together outside of the bowl before adding it into the dish to get a sense if the mixture smells appetizing.

    Fruits: cinnamon, mint, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, orange/lemon zest, or cocoa powder

    Vegetables: 

    • Carrots with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or mint
    • Corn sautéed with peppers, onions, cumin and garlic
    • Cauliflower sautéed with onions, ginger, and curry powder
    • Chilled cucumbers with onions, dill, and a splash of vinegar

    Grains: 

    • Oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, cocoa powder, or ginger
    • Brown rice (and other grains) with turmeric, cumin, curry powder, cilantro, garlic, onion/ onion powder, or saffron
    • Pasta (sauce) with basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, or onions/onion powder

    Eggs: dill, pepper, basil, oregano, celery seed, ground mustard, cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, or rosemary

    Chicken: thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, bay leaf, celery seed, chili powder, chives, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, lemongrass, dill, garlic, onion powder, ginger, lemon, vinegar, paprika, parsley, sage, pepper, or turmeric

    Beef: thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, bay leaf, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry powder, garlic, onion powder, ginger, paprika, parsley, or pepper

    Fish: dill, lemon, basil, chives, curry powder, garlic, onion powder, lemongrass, paprika, pepper, or turmeric

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