I keep the salt to a minimum when I cook and then add it at the table instead. I find you get a lot more bang for your buck that way as the salt is on top of the food instead of in it. I also like to use sea salt or kosher rather than regular. They tend to have larger crystals to when it hits your taste buds you really get the hit of flavor and can use less.
Oh my gosh, I am a saltaholic too. But basically what you have to do is get used to not having it so much. Spice substitutes in recipes can be great, but it's not exactly like having salt. I have found that the best way, especially with processed foods, is to try and halve the salt. Like for example when I make spaghetti I use half a can of regular spaghetti sauce and half a can of salt-free. Or use the no-salt and add a little at the table. I boil all of my own beans rather than getting the canned (takes some planning ahead, but it's also cheaper). For frozen foods, mixes, etc., you just have to read every single label and avoid the really salty ones (I am thinking of the Boston Market meals -- those have like 1000 mg of salt in one meal!). I make my own taco seasoning from a recipe I found online. There's not much more to say than you have to read all of the labels and get used to the way those things taste. I can almost always find salt-free versions of canned foods, but you have to look hard.
Oh, the other thing is to try and find foods that are not "supposed" to be salty... for example when we make pizza we use fresh mozzarella (the kind floating in water you find in your deli section or specialty cheese area) with fresh basil and tomatoes on a pre-bought crust... instead of salt-free sausage pizza (yuck). We use balsamic vinegar in spaghetti to punch up the flavor and never cook with salt on salmon, beef, grilled chicken, etc. (okay maybe a little shake on a steak).
Try tracking your sodium intake (include those shakes of salt!) and try to break yourself of that habit of salting before you taste for a week... and see how much more flavor your food seems to have once you're used to it.
And salt substitutes (AlsoSalt or the Morton one) are made with potassium. That's great, but if you are already on medication for high blood pressure you'll need to check with your doctor because I have read that it can interact with those medications.
The other thing -- condiments are killer. Mustard, ketchup, hot sauce (that one kills me -- one serving is a quarter-teaspoon -- that's like nothing and is almost pure salt) can be very high in sodium. It goes back to reading the labels, determining what is a realistic portion size and sticking to the products that are good. Sriracha, for example, instead of traditional hot sauce is great (same amount of sodium in 1 tsp of it as one quarter-tsp of my Louisiana hot sauce that I loved).
There is a lowering salt intake sparkteam... you could join that for some ideas too!
Sorry it's not easier... but really if you just make yourself cut back you will not miss it so much. It just takes time and getting used to.
Fitness Minutes: (78,904)
2/2/10 2:27 P
That's why all lunch meats should be avoided (grill and slice your own!), and why cheese should be limited.
I haven't been adding salt to anything lately, and I'm still always over my limit for the day! It's in everything... breads, lunchmeat, cheese... it's hard!
Fitness Minutes: (21,950)
3,863 2/2/10 12:39 P
I like Morton Lite Salt. It just tastes like table salt, but it's only got half the sodium of regular table salt because it replaces half with potassium chloride. The added potassium is also helpful when you're losing weight.
I also like adding extra fresh herbs and spices to my food. Some of the Mrs Dash are great, and others aren't. I really like the Tomato, Basil and Garlic and the Chipotle Southwest. The Onion and Herb has too much black pepper and the Lemon Pepper doesn't have much lemon taste.
When you're cooking try starting with the herbs and spices, and then only add the amount of salt you absolutely need. If you up the flavor ante throughout the dish, you will probably find you don't need as much salt.
If you eliminate things like canned soup and lunchmeats from your diet, you'll drop your overall sodium consumption dramatically.
I was the same - the only way I found to keep it in control is to track my food before I eat it and manage it by intentionally keeping it under 2300 per day. It's tough, but it can be done. There is so much sodium in processed foods that unless you track it it can skyrocket. Wishing you the best, it's an ongoing struggle.
Edited by: IRIE_KEY at: 2/2/2010 (12:11)
Fitness Minutes: (435)
11 2/2/10 12:07 P
Thank you both, I was sure I was the only one and I would only get flack. It's encouraging to know I am not alone.
I'm the same. I know there's a spice mix that's supposed to taste like salt without any actually in it. I just try to use other seasonings but salt always makes it better. I like adding hot sauce, cayenne, cajun seasoning, basil, thyme, pepper, lemon or a bit of cheese to make food stil taste good.
Edited by: KAYLA200 at: 2/2/2010 (12:02)
Fitness Minutes: (27,132)
732 2/2/10 11:58 A
Right there with you and I have not found a great way to get past this addiction either.......
Fitness Minutes: (435)
11 2/2/10 11:47 A
I just love to salt everything even before I taste it. I just love the taste. I have tried all the Mrs. Dashes and salt substitutes, but they taste bad. Any suggestions to break this craving?
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