Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flavorful Low Sodium Meals

With all three of my children I had gestational high blood pressure. And, with my most recent pregnancy it never went back down. So now, I'm here trying to lower it on my own so that I don't have to go on medication. I decided to start exercising and change my diet. But, I knew that I couldn't make radical changes or it wouldn't last. I decided to focus on my salt intake. It has been two months now, and it's been steadily going down, and I did it mostly by cutting high-sodium foods out of my diet. I found that by adding healthy flavor, I didn't really miss the salt. Here's my top 5 tips for yummy low sodium meals!

1. Fresh Herbs - There is nothing like the taste of fresh cilantro, it happens to be my favorite herb. Use parsley, basil, chives, cilantro to add a really fresh and delicious flavor to any meal. They work great in salads, on meat, in casseroles, you name it! Believe me, you won't miss the salt.

2. Skip the Cans - Canned foods have much more sodium than you might think. Whatever dish you are making, if you can use fresh ingredients instead of canned you can cut out a lot of sodium. Depending on what you are making the cost can be a factor, but beans for example are much less expensive if you buy dried beans instead of canned. Even if you can't cut out all canned foods, consider replacing one common canned item you use like diced tomatoes with your own stewed tomatoes. It will pay off!

3. Mrs. Dash - Seriously, they have a ton of flavors that I didn't even know about until I started trying to eat better. My new favorite is the Fiesta Lime, it goes great with chicken and pork, and Mrs. Dash is salt-free! I love to marinate pork chops in a little olive oil, margarita mix, and Mrs. Dash's Fiesta Lime seasoning, so yummy on the grill!

4. Get out the Grill - The grill adds tons of flavor and precludes you from other forms of cooking like frying which can add a ton of sodium to a meal. Combine grilling with fresh herbs or Mrs. Dash and you have one yummy meal!

5. Buy Unsalted Butter - Using salted butter is like using the salt shaker twice. When you buy unsalted butter you get to control the amount of salt going into a dish. Many Food Network gurus suggest using unsalted butter too. I promise you won't miss it in the flavor, and you can feel a little less guilty about using real butter!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Mrs. Dash and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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