Sodium adds a delicious, though not very nutritious, element to our meals- often without us even realizing it! We need sodium to help our cells function, but most people eat way over the amount that their body needs! If you’re eating more than about a teaspoon a day, chances are you have too much sodium in your diet. And the thing is, most of your sodium doesn’t even come from your salt shaker- it’s hidden in processed foods! Those quick and easy microwave dinners and pre-prepared foods come with a hefty price; too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause all sorts of complications for your heart and kidneys. Best to get your little eaters consuming the right amount of sodium from an early age!
Well, what can be done? The good news is there are some quick and easy tips to help you strike out the sodium! Something as easy as rinsing canned beans before cooking them can make an impact. Other tips to try:
- Look for low sodium labels on food.
- Eat more fruits and veggies (you can even buy them frozen to make them last longer!). Potassium is super effective in combating the negative effects of sodium.
- Experiment with spices other than salt. They add amazing variety and flavor! (For tips on which spices complement different types of food, check out http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/spiceherb-ss/index.htm )
- Slowly wean out the salt you add to your food- your taste buds (along with those of your little eaters) will adjust and you’ll come to appreciate the natural flavors.
You can strike out the sodium and still get maximum enjoyment from your food!
Written by Megan Fiorillo