If you have diabetes, or other health issues such as high blood pressure, it’s important that you reduce your salt intake. With a little planning, you can accomplish this while still keeping your foods full of flavor.
Although salt adds flavor to foods, it also is linked to high blood pressure. People with diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely than others to have a stroke, heart disease and kidney disease, so cutting back on salt is important to staying healthy.
People with diabetes and high blood pressure should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. This is about one teaspoon of salt per day. Many processed foods, such as processed meats, bacon, sandwich meats, canned fish, some canned vegetables and snacks are high in sodium.
Although salt is our nation’s favorite seasoning, limiting its place in the daily diet can be “tastefully” done. Try these suggestions:
- Consider using salt substitutes instead of table salt.
- Cut by half the amount of salt called for in recipes, or gradually reduce the amount of salt used in recipes to a less-salty taste.
- Do not add salt to water when cooking pasta or rice.
- Use no-salt versions of your favorite seasonings. For example, use garlic powder or fresh garlic instead of garlic salt.
- Herbs and spices liven up the tastes of many dishes. Experiment with flavors to see which one the family likes. When using herbs, remember:
- Powdered herbs are stronger in flavor than crumbled herbs; dried herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh.
- When using milder herbs, such as oregano, use one teaspoon per six servings. When using stronger herbs, such as rosemary, start with one quarter teaspoon for six servings.
If you are diabetic or needing to learn to cook healthier, “Cooking with Diabetes” is a four-part series of cooking lessons and demonstrations that will begin Oct. 2. For registration information, call 940-349-2882.
MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.