How to Prepare a Holiday Meal That’s Light on Your Heart

Picture of a chef preparing a low-sodium holiday meal at a restaurant kitchen and adding salt to the vegetables.

Does it surprise you that shortly after Christmas, you struggle to fit into your pants? Or that climbing a flight of stairs makes you feel like you just completed a marathon? While you can easily adjust your wardrobe, undoing the damage that holiday overindulgence has on your heart isn’t as easy. Read on to learn how to give your heart a break this Christmas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most people tend to eat foods that aren’t heart-healthy during the holidays
  • Consuming too much sodium has been linked to hypertension
  • Chronic hypertension is a significant risk factor for heart disease
  • You can minimize your risk by choosing heart-healthy meals this Christmas

A study by the University of Copenhagen showed a 20% spike in cholesterol levels during the holiday season due to unhealthy food choices and increased sedentariness. This article offers healthy alternatives for your heart this Christmas, plus extra tricks to help you enjoy low-sodium meals.

High-sodium meals are popular during Christmas

Popular holiday meats, breads, and sauces are usually packed with sodium. Salt, the primary source of sodium, not only adds flavor to food but also makes it last longer. So it’s not surprising that Christmas meals are typically highly salted.

Too much sodium causes hypertension and heart disease

Consuming excess sodium has been linked to hypertension. And hypertension is the most critical risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately,  reducing dietary sodium has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Know your sodium limit

Sodium plays essential functions in the body, including regulating nerve impulses and moving fluids in and out of cells. So it’s important to get enough – just not too much.

The FDA recommends that adults consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. This is the equivalent of one level teaspoon of salt. Children should not exceed 1,800 mg of sodium per day.

Tips for heart-healthy holiday meals 

The holiday season is associated with endless partying and indulgence for most people. Unfortunately, this leaves us battling weight gain and other health issues after the festivities are over. But that doesn’t have to be the case this year. Here are five tips to help you plan for a heart-healthy Christmas.

1. Use fresh ingredients

Salt is often used to preserve processed foods, so an easy way to reduce sodium levels in your meals is to cook with fresh foods instead. And if you have to use canned ingredients, make sure to wash off the salted sauce.

2. Be creative

Traditional Christmas recipes are super salty, so opt instead to create your own low-sodium recipes. Foods that are full of fiber are filling and often contain less sodium. Fresh vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots are also low in sodium and can serve as appetizers or snacks.

3. Take away the saltshaker

Most of the sodium Americans consume comes not from the saltshaker but from processed foods. That said, taking that shaker off the table can help limit sodium intake, as some people add salt to food just because they see it there. You can also try out a low-sodium option.

4. Replace salt with spices and herbs

You can boost the flavor of unsalted food with spices or herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and tarragon. Keep a variety of seasoning options on-hand, so you can change things up and avoid monotony.

5. Eat more potassium-rich foods

Potassium appears to have an effect on the body that’s opposite to that of sodium. In fact, research shows that consuming high-potassium foods can help lower blood pressure. Such foods include bananas, cantaloupe, apricots, beans, and yogurt. 

The five tips mentioned above will guide you as you prepare heart-healthy holiday meals. Before we wind up, here are five more tips to get you started on your sodium-reduction goals this Christmas.

5 tips to keep your blood pressure under control over the holidays

Christmas is a time to enjoy the comfort of family and indulge in delicious foods and beverages. But that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your health. These five steps will help you beat the holiday sodium bug and maintain a healthy heart.

  • Get regular BP checkups
  • Eat out less often
  • Know the early signs of hypertension
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t skip your meds (if you’re already hypertensive)

Every 34 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease. Reducing your sodium intake this Christmas can help ensure that you won’t become one of those statistics.

Try Salt Me! Snacks this Christmas  

Salt Me! Potato crisps are flavored with MicroSalt® salt Crystals that contain 50% less sodium but offer double the flavor of regular salt. This isn’t a salt substitute. It’s just a more heart-healthy version of the real thing!

MicroSalt® tiny crystals have the same great taste as regular salt. However, they have been specially engineered to deliver 50% less sodium, making them a healthier choice. The particles are 100 times smaller and have excellent adhesion properties, ensuring you get a full burst of instant flavor. 

Contact MicroSalt® today with any questions

Our team strives to create a new way of enjoying food where great taste and good health go hand-in-hand. MicroSalt® is the proud global winner of the P&G Alumni Network’s 2021 Star Entrepreneur Award, and we’re here to help make low-sodium, healthy eating – and healthy living – a reality. 

Simply contact us via our message page, connect with one of our international offices, or call 1-877-825-0655 to learn more.

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