7 Tips from the FDA to Help You Get Salt Smart This Holiday Season

Picture of a chef preparing a meal and adding salt to the vegetables.

The holidays are just around the corner, which means so is all that delicious (and often salt-laden) food. Here are 7 tips from the FDA to help keep your sodium consumption in check as you enjoy this year’s festivities. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Americans above age 2 consume 50% more sodium than they should
  • Most Americans don’t understand how to read food labels
  • Americans get most of their sodium from processed foods
  • Too much dietary sodium is linked to hypertension, stroke, and heart disease
  • The FDA provides guidance on how to reduce sodium intake 

The holidays usher in a season of get-togethers and festivities that usually involve indulging in a lot of great-tasting foods. Just one whiff of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie can evoke many wonderful memories. Such great tastes are a product of many ingredients, including one we could all do with a little less of – salt. 

Not that salt is all bad. Far from it. This everyday kitchen staple provides our bodies with sodium, which they need to perform many vital functions. Too much sodium, however, can cause a wide range of health issues, including higher incidences of hypertension, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. A sustained reduction in sodium intake, on the other hand, has been linked to a decrease in blood pressure.

So how much is too much? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a sodium limit of 2,300 mg per day, equivalent to one level teaspoon of salt. That limit is even lower for children under the age of 14. 

It’s crucial for kids to learn about sodium’s impact on their health before they develop poor dietary habits that will hurt them in the long run. That’s why the FDA provides resources to help people make informed choices for their current and future health. Learn how to be salt smart with these tips from the FDA and reduce your chances of getting hypertension, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. 

7 tips to get salt smart

Most people tend to overeat during the holidays and then starve themselves to shed those extra pounds when the new year begins. This year, you can make a difference by prioritizing your health even as you enjoy the holidays. One of the best ways to do this is to get salt smart. Here are seven ways to limit your sodium intake. 

1. Limit processed foods

Most of the sodium Americans consume doesn’t pour out of the saltshaker – up to 70% of the stuff comes from processed foods. Food manufacturers usually add salt to their products not just for flavor but also for preservation. To fight back against this sodium overload, try eating more freshly cooked homemade meals. Not only will you enjoy the flavor, but you’ll also limit your sodium intake. 

2. Rinse canned foods

Canned foods are usually loaded with sodium. Rinsing them helps wash off some of the salt that has been added as a preservative.

3. Prepare homemade low-sodium snacks

Most ready-made snacks like chips and pretzels are incredibly high in sodium. Instead, you can make your own no-salt-added snacks to take with you wherever you go, including celery sticks, tomato rings, and carrot chips, among others. 

4. Be on the lookout for cue words

Some words on the package should give you a hint that the food is high in sodium, including “brined,” “pickled,” and “cured.” Avoid such foods or indulge in them sparingly.

5. Limit sauces

Sauces are good for adding that extra buzz to your meal, but most of the ones you buy at the store are highly salted. This holiday, make a point to limit your intake of soy sauce, ketchup, gravy, salsa, marinade, and salad dressings.

6. Try salt substitutes

Dried herbs such as rosemary, parsley, thyme, mint, tarragon, sage, and oregano can provide a flavor boost without inflating your sodium consumption. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find those you like, and try blending them together to create unique flavors for every meal. 

7. Stick to smaller portions

Sticking to smaller portions will go a long way toward reducing your sodium intake. You can still enjoy all your holiday favorites – just try to eat a little less turkey and gravy and a little more fresh (not canned) vegetables. 

These seven FDA-approved tips can help you keep your sodium intake in check over the holidays. The FDA also recommends learning to decode sodium labels and using that information as a guide to regulate your diet. 

3 things to understand about sodium labels

Most processed foods feature a nutrition label that lists all the ingredients in descending order, while a sodium label gives information about the sodium content in the food. Here are three things that you need to understand about sodium labels: 

  1. Know the daily sodium limit. Adults should consume 2,300mg or less of sodium daily.
  2. Know how to calculate the percent daily value (%DV). The %DV is the percentage of sodium in food in relation to the daily recommended limit. Aim for 5% or less of %DV in each serving of food.
  3. Be aware of the number of servings in a product. Sodium content is often listed per serving and not per package. Look for the number of servings in a package and use that to calculate the total sodium content.

With the right information at your fingertips, all it takes to keep your sodium in check is a little commitment and discipline. It also doesn’t hurt to try a low-sodium salt alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

Get salt smart with MicroSalt® 

Did you know that you can reduce your sodium intake by 50% while enjoying double the flavor of regular salt? With MicroSalt®, you never have to compromise on great taste. MicroSalt® tiny crystals have the same taste as regular salt, but they’ve been specially engineered to deliver 50% less sodium, making them a healthier choice. The particles are 100 times smaller and easily adhere to foods, so you can be sure you’ll instantly get that full burst of flavor. 

Contact MicroSalt® today

The MicroSalt® team strives to create a new food industry norm where good health doesn’t come second to great taste. MicroSalt® are proud global winners of the P&G Alumni Network’s 2021 Star Entrepreneur Award. We’d love to take part in making your product the best it can be.

Contact us via our message page, connect with one of our international offices, or call (877) 825-0655 to learn more.

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