Sodium consumption is soaring to unhealthy levels. Restaurant meals are a major contributor to sodium intake, and people are dining out more than ever.* It’s likely that one meal in a restaurant contains more sodium than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg.
Emily Navarro, registered dietitian for Unilever Food Solutions, suggests a few simple swaps to keep sodium in check.
- Trade the flour tortilla with a corn tortilla and shave off up to 400 mg sodium per tortilla.
- Use fresh turkey in place of deli meat on sandwiches and save over 600 mg.
- Offering swiss cheese in place of cheddar will slash an additional 130 mg.
- Skip the pickle for an extra savings of nearly 300 mg.
Other ways to make it easier for your sodium-conscious customers:
- Focus on fresh ingredients.
- Serve sauces and dressings on the side.
- Be mindful of items that are typically high in sodium such as soy sauce, marinades, processed meats, and cheese.
- If you use canned beans, give them a rinse before adding to recipes.
Chef Einav Gives Tips for Less Sodium Without Sacrificing Flavor
The best way to lower salt is to boost other flavors. There are several, delicious ways to achieve this.
- Use sour or acidic flavors such as lime juice or vinegar to finish a dish.
- Fresh herbs and spices do wonders in making up for lower quantities of salt.
- Hot and spicy combinations with sour notes can have a powerful impact and minimize the need for salt.
- Fermented condiments such as fish sauce are great additions to the right recipe. They can deliver umami and salt impact.
Chef Kyla’s Salt-Reducing Recommendations
Ingredient swaps and recipe tweaks can go a long way in bringing down the level of sodium in menu items.
- In each of your recipes, gradually use less salt until you’ve reached the point where there is a discernable difference.
- When purchasing canned or frozen prepackaged foods, choose low-sodium options when possible.
Some herbs and spices are more conducive to adding complex flavors. Consider basil, dill, lemongrass, coriander and turmeric.
- Using garlic, lemongrass and dried lemons is a great way to add unique tastes without guests missing out on excessive amounts of sodium.
- Citrus juices such as lemon or grapefruit are great in creating bright flavors that enhance other tasting notes in the recipe.
As guests begin to pay more attention to their food choices away from home, it’s going to grow increasingly important to deliver on their nutritional concerns. Lowering the sodium content of your dishes can push you and your culinary team to come up with some creative solutions guests will appreciate.
* CDC, “Reducing Sodium in Restaurant Foods is an Opportunity for Choice, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0123-reducing-sodium.html