tomato-1If you have diabetes, you probably know that you are at higher risk than normal for heart disease—heart attack and stroke. One of the ways to lower this risk is to keep your sodium intake low. Sodium comes in salt, MSG (mono-sodium glutamate), baking soda and powder and in some food preservatives. How can you keep your intake down?

  • Eat foods in their most natural form
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. If using canned, look for “no added salt varieties”
  • Plain Rice, quinoa, and other grains, NOT those in a boxed mix (like “Rice A Roni™”)
  • Fresh or frozen meats, poultry or fish that do not have added flavorings or preservatives
  • Look for the lowest sodium processed foods
  • Natural cheeses rather than processed cheeses
  • Tomato puree rather than tomato sauce
  • Plain (preferably whole grain) pasta rather than boxed pasta mixes
  • “Hint of Salt” Triscuits™ or Wheat Thins™  rather than regular versions
  • Lucerne “No Added Salt” Cottage Cheese

‘Sound bland and tasteless? Think again! There is a whole world of herbs and spices out there that can make foods quite tasty with very little salt. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • South of the Border flavor: Chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion (powder or fresh), a little coriander and cardamom for a South of the Border flavor. If you want some “heat” add hot red pepper flakes.Add some lime juice and fresh, chopped cilantro for extra flavor
  • Middle Eastern flavors: Curry powders (there are many types!); further spice those up with cumin, paprika, dry mustard, cardamom, and/or coriander. Add lemon or lime juice, and/or dry white wine or sherry, chopped fresh basil or cilantro for extra flavor.
  • Italian flavor: Fresh or dry oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, garlic, and onion. Add red wine during cooking for a richer flavor.
  • East Asian flavor: Mix together ginger and garlic, dry mustard and dry white wine and/or sherry or sake and a very small amount of soy sauce ( ¼ tsp per person for about 75 mg sodium/serving).
  • Barbecue seasoning: Mix together prepared yellow mustard, honey, and garlic (fresh or powdered), olive or peanut oil and a little orange juice and finely grated orange rind to brush on fish, chicken or pork.
  • Seafood seasoning:Mix together lemon juice, garlic and dill weed and brush on fish before cooking.
  • Wine to enhance flavor: Use dry white wine or sherry for any chicken or fish dish and red wine for beef or pork dishes; cooking with wine helps bring out the salt flavor in foods with less salt.
  • Herbs: Addition of chopped fresh herbs always gives more flavor than the dried versions

If using all natural or fresh foods, your dish will be very low in sodium; go ahead and add about 1/8 to ¼ tsp salt to a dish that serves 4 people (adds 288 to 575 gm sodium to the whole dish, or 72-144 mg sodium per serving)