GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The USDA Dietary Guidelines suggests limiting sodium to 2300 mg per day, or 1 teaspoon. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to limit sodium to 1500 mg per day. This can be tough as a majority of food has sodium as an ingredient. However, by limiting the amount of packaged and processed foods in your diet, and increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you will find limiting sodium to be easier than you may think. Other ways to help manage blood pressure is eating a variety of foods that contain potassium, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and oranges.

Tips to reduce sodium intake:

•    Remove the saltshaker from the table 

•    Exchange snacks such as chips and crackers with unsalted nuts 

•    When buying canned foods, look for no salt added or reduced sodium varieties, or rinse canned foods

•    Increase your intake of whole grains, including brown rice, oats or quinoa

•    Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet

•    White cheeses, such as mozzarella or Swiss, naturally contain a lower sodium content than orange cheeses, like cheddar or American. If you choose to eat cheese, opt for the lower sodium varieties. 

•    Use alternative ways to flavor meals. Try cooking with wine, vinegar, adding lemon juice to vegetables. 

•    Cook more at home, as you will be able to moderate the amount of sodium added, as well as manipulate ingredients by using no salt added varieties. 

•    If you are unsure if a food is high in sodium, always read the nutrition facts label. If a food is 20% daily value of sodium or more, this is a high sodium food. If a food is 5% daily value of sodium or less, this is a low sodium food.

Chickpea Alfredo Sauce with Pasta

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves

1 cup unsalted chickpeas, drained 

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces whole-grain penne, uncooked

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1.    Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 

2.    Add onion, carrot, and minced garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes. 

3.    Let onion mixture cool. Cook pasta. 

4.    Place cooled onion mixture, chickpeas, water, salt and pepper in a blender; process until smooth.

5.    Toss with hot cooked penne; sprinkle with parsley and basil.

*recipe from Cooking Light

Popcorn Seasonings

Savory

Spicy paprika – Toss with ¾ teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon paprika 

BBQ – Toss with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon onion powder

Sweet

Hot Chocolate – ¼ tsp cocoa powder and ¼ tsp cinnamon

Chocolate Peanut – Toss with 1 tablespoon dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon unsalted peanuts

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

4 tbsp chili powder 

3 tbs paprika

3 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

*recipe from Yummly

Homemade Greek Seasoning Blend

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp dried dill

1 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

½ Tbsp dried thyme

½ Tbsp garlic powder

½ Tbsp onion powder

4 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning

2 Tsp paprika

*recipe from Yummly

Resources:

https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/the-facts-on-sodium-and-high-blood-pressure

https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/pasta-chickpea-sauce

https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/25-easy-delicious-ways-flavor-popcorn-without-salt

Courtesy: Shelby Miller, RD