How to Enjoy a Low-Sodium Thanksgiving

A plate with cutlery surrounded by fall foliage.

Help yourself to these healthy menu tips for a delicious, heart-friendly holiday.

Key takeaways: 

  • Thanksgiving is a time for Americans to gather and celebrate with food
  • Unfortunately, much of that food is packed with sodium
  • Salty foods can make you overeat during Thanksgiving
  • You can celebrate a healthier holiday by following a few simple sodium replacement tips

Successfully following a low-sodium diet is a year-round reason to celebrate. It’s a powerful way to care for the body and the mind, helping reduce your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and depression, all of which can be caused or worsened by excess dietary sodium.

A responsible diet is even more important during the holiday season when people tend to eat more than usual. This is especially true when considering the strong connection between salty foods and overeating (salty foods stimulate appetite more than thirst, contrary to general belief).

The good news is that it is possible to prepare a flavorful, heart-healthy feast that will give you and your family plenty to be thankful for. Just follow these salt-smart Thanksgiving tips to celebrate a healthy holiday this year – and every year to come!

Planning a low sodium Thanksgiving 

Low-sodium appetizers are a tasty way to kick off the festivities. You can also complement your main meal with optional extras and refreshing seasonal salads. Light bites such as fruit, nuts, and chips can keep your guests nibbling until the main course arrives.

We’ve got a great list of low-sodium recipes that can serve as appetizers or snacks while providing plenty of healthy flavor and variety. Salads are a reliable low-sodium snack assuming you keep an eye on those condiments. The Mayo Clinic recommends these world-spanning recipes, all of which contain no more than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

For a lower-sodium main course, forget brining the turkey this year and think about healthier seasoning alternatives. You can also try basting the bird with unsalted butter to keep sodium content down.

For sides, choosing fresh or frozen vegetables over canned will help cut sodium content, especially if you thoroughly rinse frozen veggies before you prepare them. Forget instant potatoes, which are often full of sodium, and skip salting the water when boiling fresh potatoes. If you like to mash them up with butter, choose the unsalted variety. Better yet, you could whip up your own healthy stuffing using low-sodium bread, walnuts, olive oil, and herbs.

If you must buy canned or packaged items, make sure you understand how companies label their products. “Low sodium” isn’t always as simple as it sounds. This is because food manufacturers can be less than transparent about sodium content, and salt can be hidden in plain sight under a few different names.

The smartest way to buy all your Thanksgiving items is by studying nutritional labels before adding them to your grocery cart. Read our guide to decoding food labels to quickly become familiar with the names and numbers you need to know. Now let’s cover how your sauces and condiments can meet the low sodium standard.

More tips and tricks

Replace salt in recipes with flavorful herbs and spices that can make Thanksgiving meals as colorful as autumn itself. Try mixing things up with delicious (and salt-free!) alternatives such as:

  • Curry powder or tamarind 
  • Parsley, sage, or saffron 
  • Onion or garlic powder
  • Black or cayenne pepper

With these alternatives in mind, you can try out some delicious low-sodium gravy recipes like this thick and versatile brown gravy (by a chef dedicated to the low-sodium lifestyle) or this gravy with herbs from an award-winning recipe developer.

Pre-packaged and bottled condiments can also be very sodium-heavy. Instead, try your hand at alternatives like a zingy no salt vinaigrette or a healthy Caesar dressing you can drizzle with confidence. If you do decide to buy dressings at the grocery store, be sure to choose the lowest-sodium option possible.

Bonus tip: Choosing a musical menu

Do you like to play music in the background as you eat? Here’s an interesting idea that may help curb Thanksgiving appetites. Keeping the music tempo slow and steady could cause you and your guests to eat more mindfully according to a 2020 study confirming that what we hear influences how quickly we consume our meals.

Faster music might actually cause some people to speed up and possibly eat more than they otherwise would. It’s certainly food for thought if you’re considering your personal Thanksgiving soundtrack.

Combine all these healthy Thanksgiving tips with sensible portion control and you’re ready for a responsible dinner. However, taking responsibility doesn’t mean completely removing salt from the menu. In fact, you could enjoy your most satisfyingly salty Thanksgiving yet while still cutting back on your sodium intake. How? With MicroSalt®’s revolutionary microparticle technology.

Try MicroSalt® for a low-sodium Thanksgiving

Our saltshaker comes in two sizes, both of which make a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving table. With a more intense salty flavor than traditional crystals, all-natural MicroSalt® ensures that you can shake on less to get the flavors you love – so even the biggest fans of salty foods will discover how easy and tasty it can be to reduce their sodium intake.

Connect with us on our message page or call 1-877-825-0655 for more information on how MicroSalt® makes low-sodium living simpler all year long. And that’s something we can all be thankful for!

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