When someone is first told to go on a low sodium diet, many at first think, I can do that. Just give up the salt shaker. Right? Not exactly. They don’t realize until they try it, that their food tastes pretty bland without the salt taste they are used to. They are also learning that so much of what they were eating and using to cook with were full of salt and too high in sodium. The canned goods, canned soups, soup and seasoning mixes, frozen dinners, prepackaged foods, fast food, sodas, breads, cereals, etc. A low sodium diet is like learning to cook all over again.
Now, they go to the store for some salt free seasonings and a salt substitute to hopefully add flavor to their bland food. Most of the time they find that they do not get very good results. They are unhappy. They are perhaps starting to panic. It has been several days and nothing tastes good. They have tried everything in the store. They are going through salt cravings and getting real cranky. Some folks may have even stopped eating. They are thinking, is this my lot in life? No tasty food, ever again? This does not have to be the case.
You absolutely need good tasting salt free seasonings. You will find that salt free seasonings are not all created equal. Find a good tasting salt substitute. Preferably a no potassium chloride salt substitute. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables or frozen with no salt added. For you to stay on a low sodium diet you will be cooking almost everything from scratch. No canned soups, no mixes, no microwave dinners, no prepared foods. A low sodium diet is back to basics cooking. Old fashioned, old world style cooking doesn’t have to take a lot of work. Just takes some planning, good seasonings, good ingredients and slow cooking, makes all the difference for a flavorful low sodium diet.
For a successful low sodium diet, learn to use a crock pot. Buy a crock pot that has a removable insert, as this makes it much easier to clean. Get a crock pot that is big enough to cook enough food for a couple of days, about 6 quarts is a nice size. You can prepare what your are going to cook the night before and set it in the refrigerator. Here is a low sodium cooking tip: Browning any meat before you put it in the crock pot will not only improve the appearance of the dish but also the flavor. Insert the prepared crock from the refrigerator into the heating element. Cover with lid. Set the crock pot temperature on low for about 10-12 hours or high for about 6-8 hours of cooking time. When you return home, your dinner is ready. The house smells great like you had been cooking all day but it was your crock pot doing all the work.
No slaving over a hot stove when you are tired after working all day. No temptation to eat out or to stop and get some fast food or a frozen dinner that is way too high in sodium. To your surprise, the food not only smells good when you walk in the door, but tastes good. Your dinner is full of flavor. What a difference good tasting salt free seasonings, quality fresh ingredients, and slow cooking can do towards adding flavor to a usually bland low sodium diet. Always, cook more than you need for dinner. The leftovers tend to be even more flavorful and dinner is as simple as re-heating for the next night or two. You might want to take some leftovers for lunch. You can also freeze the leftovers and reheat them for a quick low sodium meal.
With a little planning, salt free seasonings and a crock pot, you’ll find it’s easy to get flavor into a low sodium diet.