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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been watching the sodium content in the foods I'm eating as of late, and I'm shocked! It's at least one or two times more than I should get on a daily basis. I was wondering why the weight gain was more than usual.

My quest from this point on is to reduce the sodium content in my foods without breaking the grocery budget and sticking with frugal foods. How to do that, though?
 

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I think the most frugal way would be to stick to whole foods. Grains, vegetables, and unprocessed meats.

Now that does get boring after a bit, but if those are the bulk of your diet, there'd be less sodium consumed.
 
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Cook as much as you can from scratch. Spend the pennies to buy herb seeds and grow them to cook with. They can be grown on a sunny window even in the winter. Read all labels. Stay away from all smoked foods ( mega salt) and deli foods. Farmers cheese is a low sodium alternative to the full salt cheeses out there. Sun chips are a lower salt substitute for regular chips. And they're whole wheat, much better than the others.Watch those canned soups! Tortillas and flat breads have less salt than regular bread, any kind.
um...thats all I can think of now lol. I've been living salt free/low salt now for many years. You'll be surprised how after a while you'll be able to taste the salt in foods that you eat while others think it's needs salt lol
 

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Another vote for cooking from scratch. Most processed foods are packed with sodium. At first, your meals will seem tasteless, but, never fear, your palate will adjust quickly.
 

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I have to agree with the cook from scratch. Both my dh and I have to watch the salt. Like you I was amazed at just how much salt we were eating. I actually eliminate the salt from anything I am cooking. It took a little while but we got use to it. I also do not put the salt out on the table when eating. We also eat a lot of fruit and vegies.
 

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cooking from scratch is the way to go! At first it may seem cumbersome, but now that my pantry is always stocked, I can make pretty much ANYTHING and not have to go to the store. The only salt in my food is the salt that I add. :) (salad dressings, sauces, mixes, bread, crackers, rice a roni, etc.. I make them all) Again, at first it was a little overwhelming for me, but now I know the recipes really well and it take only a few more minutes but saves a ton of money.

Also, over time you taste buds will get used to tasting "real" food and you can instantly taste foods with additives, preservatives, etc... I actually get bad headaches now when I eat non homemade food. I LOVE eating muffins and actually tasting the flour in them. yummy!!!

Start off small and work your way up. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ahhh, that's the way I plan to go then. :) I started eating more rice the other day for lunch but folded today and had a roast beef and swiss sandwich. :(

We're getting into the grilling season here at the house and I'll have to start making some homemade italian dressing to put into the pasta salad. I even started measuring my dressings by the serving size on the bottle and plan on writing that down into a journal of sorts. I absolutely love using herbs and spices in my food and I've found over the years that I stopped using extra salt on my foods.
 

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As others have advised, cook from scratch ...to avoid canned foods...like soups, stews, nasty pasta type things like beef a roni, etc. that generally are overloaded w/ sodium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I found this really fantastic website from the Mayo Clinic that has low-sodium recipes in it:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/low-sodium-recipes/RE00101

Some of those dishes sound fantastic! I figured that it might help someone else that might be looking to cut down on their sodium intake (while bringing out natural flavors in the dishes).
 
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Ahhh, that's the way I plan to go then. :) I started eating more rice the other day for lunch but folded today and had a roast beef and swiss sandwich. :(

We're getting into the grilling season here at the house and I'll have to start making some homemade italian dressing to put into the pasta salad. I even started measuring my dressings by the serving size on the bottle and plan on writing that down into a journal of sorts. I absolutely love using herbs and spices in my food and I've found over the years that I stopped using extra salt on my foods.

"Dining on a Dime"
has a cajun seasoning mix that has less salt than the usual mixes at the store. Great for grilling. I use it on chicken, pork chops and salmon.

I also don't cook with salt if at all possible. Salt is simply a flavour enhancer. Recipes work without it. I cut it in half in muffins, cakes, etc...if I have them. I certainly cut it in half in sauces. I make chocolate sauce without any.

I also don't put salt in the water I use to cook vegetables. Salt is at the table to be added...but we go sparingly.

If you find the food bland, replace salt with different spices. A good spice cookbook like "Spices of the World Cookbook"will tell you what spice goes best with what foods.

Also watch out for prepackaged/processed cereals. There's a lot of salt in some of those dry cereals! And watch crackers too. I bake my own bread...very little salt. I hear it can be left out, but I haven't tried it yet.

Best of luck!

[edited to add: I have no idea what went wrong with the above link, but it appears to work despite how it appears!]
 

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I keep canned veggies, the regular ones, for emergencies, but try to use frozen. That gives me control over the salt. I can't stand the unsalted canned ones.

I never use salt in the water when I cook pasta. There will be more than enough in the sauce if you use jarred or canned sauce. You will never notice it's missing.

Those are just two little ways. I eat more salt than I should too, but unless you cook everything from scratch - and I don't have the time and energy for that - it is very hard to avoid it.
 

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I cook from scratch also.

I do use jarred spaghetti sauce, but spaghetti here is a "quickie" meal (noodles are already made, just open the jar and toss on some sauce).
 

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You've already had some super tips. My DD takes Prednisone, so we have to watch sodium here. Absolutely cook everything you can from scratch. Snack foods can be horrible, we use a microwave air pop bowl to make our own low sodium popcorn (spray with a little olive oil and gently sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder) or we make our own tortilla chips (brush with a little water, sprinkle with whatever seasoning and bake at 450 until toasty). Homemade salsa, hummus, bean dips are significantly lower in sodium as well. Homemade pizza is another good one, it's hard to find reduced sodium cheese, but we use a little pesto with seasoned chicken and go sparingly on the cheese. Making your own taco seasoning or mac and cheese mix will cut down too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We stopped eating canned vegetables a long time ago. It's either frozen (which I steam or add into my soups) or fresh. We also use canned spaghetti sauce and jarred spaghetti sauce for two of our favorite dishes (italian bowtie pasta and spaghetti with meatballs), so what I do is I don't use salt in either dish if I use the spaghetti sauce.

Another trick with the boiling water to avoid putting salt into it is to cover it with a lid. That helps the water to boil faster and works the same as salt (because salt lowers the boiling point of water, the lid simply boils it faster without the salt). The only thing I put in the water when I boil it for pasta is a bit of oil to help keep the pasta separate while boiling. Even then, I use strictly olive oil (about a tablespoon).

I'll definitely have to check out the spices cookbook.

I talked to DH about the sodium thing and he's ok with trying at least one new meal a week that cuts down on the sodium. In the summertime, we usually eat pork steaks a lot so the cajun seasoning thing might do us just fine. :)
 

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Good luck! When Dh was having blood pressure problems several years ago, we cut down our sodium intake too.

It sounds like you are doing alot already, like staying away from canned things.

Just buy fresh and "least" processed whenever you can. The less processed, the less preservatives and the better they are.

You can check out the term "clean eating" or "clean dieting" too, and you'll find lots of things to make without using foods containing preservatives and sodium!

Stay away from pop too! Diet pop has low everything, but still contains sodium, which I tend to forget sometimes!
 
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I make our own lunch meats too -- I buy beef roasts, turkey breasts on sale, cook them without salt, cool and slice thinly for sandwiches.

If you have a bread machine, there are recipes online for making low sodium versions of breads.

Also -- try to bump up your potassium intake, along with decreasing your sodium intake.
 

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Natural is better. For some reason all the weight loss meals are still relatively high in salt. I have found if you must use canned, alot of store or off brands have much less salt. Don't forget too-Water.Water,Water.
 

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My dad had his first heart problem just after I'd learned how to cook, and I had to learn how to do it again.

In general, aside from not buying packaged foods, try this:

Stop adding salt to food when cooking. It tastes a little weird at first, but you can get used to adding salt at the table rather than the stove, and so can your family.

Look up (usda.gov and various other sites) the sodium content of the common ingredients you use and try and substitute items with less salt. For example, we use a LOT of cheese, specifically cheddar, which is very high in sodium. Both montery jack and mozarella are lower in sodium than cheddar. So, when I can, I use those cheeses instead. Pasta with pepper jack is an accepted food here now, rather than mac and cheese.

Also, in general salt-water fish are...you guessed it, saltier than fresh-water fish. Shell fish are usuallly saliter than swimming fish.

Also, use recipezaar or other such site's ability to tell you what you're eating/making. At least one of the recipes I have on 'zaar was created because I found a Mexican cottage cheese casserole that sounded wonderful, but was excessively high in fat and salt, so I modified it.

Once you get used to what you can do to take out the salt/fat from recipes it's pretty easy. But it's like learning to be frugal, it takes a slightly different mind-set, being aware of what you're trying to do, and keeping yourself on track.

Also, Morton has a low-sodium salt that I use as table salt. I can't tell the difference, but you might be able to?

A last recommendation, find snacks that aren't a cracker, popcorn (buttered/salted), or potato chips...all usually really high in salt!

Judi
 

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You have received good advice so far

If we get canned veggies we will add we get no salt added veggies they don't cost more here. We prefer frozen or fresh.

We get unsalted top saltine crackers, unsalted butter, unsalted peanuts. these things all cost the same as their salted counterpart.

We have learned to love air popped popcorn

I find that different brands of seasoning mixes and soups and sauces have wildly different amounts of sodium so I just check the backs, lots of times the generic or store brand has less then the name brand.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good luck! When Dh was having blood pressure problems several years ago, we cut down our sodium intake too.

It sounds like you are doing alot already, like staying away from canned things.

Just buy fresh and "least" processed whenever you can. The less processed, the less preservatives and the better they are.

You can check out the term "clean eating" or "clean dieting" too, and you'll find lots of things to make without using foods containing preservatives and sodium!

Stay away from pop too! Diet pop has low everything, but still contains sodium, which I tend to forget sometimes!
I found that we cut back a ton on pop lately partially because of price, but now that I know it has sodium, it'll be out of our household for now on. I found this neat little spritzer recipe that I might give a shot that's on the Mayo Clinic's website. :)

The big problem is with DH's lunches. He takes a lot of tortilla wraps with lunch meat in them and will not touch any fresh water fish for sandwiches (other than maybe white fish but they're bottom feeders in fresh water lakes). I guess I can make him some chicken salad sandwiches and pita pockets with chicken breasts or find other low-sodium alternatives for his lunches.
 
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