So, you’re reading food labels and you’ve cut down on your salt intake, excellent! But that’s no reason to settle for bland food. Remember to reduce the amount of salt you add to your meals gradually over time – your taste buds will start to adjust, and soon you won’t notice the difference. Also remember that there are so many delicious (and much healthier) alternatives to salt, that your dishes can still be packed with flavour. Here are our favourites:
Use citrus juice, like lemon and lime, to brighten up the flavour of fish, meat or vegetables, and remember that you get even more flavour by using the zest of citrus fruit. A classic combination used in Italian cuisine is gremolata – a chopped herb mixture that typically includes lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Try it! It’s great with fish and meat dishes.
Use onions and garlic to add dimension and flavour to stir-fries and sauces. Try roasting whole cloves of garlic, then squeeze out the soft puree and use in mashed potatoes or sauces. Roasting garlic softens the flavour, so it becomes sweeter and more fragrant.
Add fresh herbs like coriander, basil, thyme or rosemary to your foods for a savoury punch without added salt. And here’s a handy tip: You can keep parsley or basil crisp and green by standing it in fresh, clean water like you would a bunch of flowers. It lasts much longer this way! Dried herbs can also be used for added flavour, just be sure to store them out of direct sunlight.
As a final note, when out shopping keep an eye out for salt-free or low-sodium seasonings to add to soups, casseroles and other dishes. Just make sure they’re also MSG-free.
Bon appetit, and here’s to your good health!
The nationwide Salt Watch initiative is brought to you by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. Visit www.heartfoundation.co.za for more.