As is much the case for most of the minerals and vitamins in our food, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. While sodium is an essential mineral for regulating fluid balance and maintaining hydration in our bodies, too much of it can lead to conditions like hypertension (otherwise known as high blood pressure), difficulties breathing, and edema (swelling caused by excess fluid in the body). And unfortunately, sodium is in most prepackaged food – such as in cold cuts, canned soups, potato chips, and even bread. Below are three recipes I highly recommend if you’re looking to amp up your low-sodium regiment.
1. Sweet Pea and Bacon Soup. Canned soups are a major problem for people trying to cut down their salt intake – a single can of Campbell’s can contain over 600mg of sodium! Fortunately, Betty Crocker has a line of delicious low-sodium soup recipes you’ll love. My personal favorite is their sweet pea soup with bacon.
Ingredients: Six slices of low-sodium bacon (I opt for the organic Applegate brand), one and a half cups of refrigerated cooked diced potatoes with onions, four cups of Progresso Reduced Sodium chicken broth, one 12-ounce bag of frozen baby sweet peas, half a cup of fat-free half-and-half, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Instructions: In a nonstick saucepan, cook bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Keep two tablespoons of drippings in the pan, discarding the rest. Next, cook the potatoes in the drippings on medium-high heat for about five minutes. Add broth and peas. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place four and a half cups of the soup in a blender and blend on the high setting until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into the soup left in the pan, stir in the half-and-half and pepper, and heat for four minutes. Voila! All that’s left is to sprinkle the bacon bits on top.
2. Turkey Chili. Chili is one of my favorite dishes, but it can be high in salt. This recipe is gleaned from my grandmother’s cookbook, but with a few changes to keep sodium low. It’s also a great, fast meal in a pinch!
Ingredients: One pound of ground turkey, one tablespoon of all-purpose flour, one tablespoon of chili powder, two teaspoons of salt, one teaspoon of sugar, one 18-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (pulsing your own fresh tomatoes is preferred), and one 16-ounce can of Bush’s Best Reduced Sodium pinto beans.
Instructions: In a skillet, brown the turkey. In a bowl, combine flour, chili powder, salt, and sugar; stir into the meat. Add tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for thirty minutes. Makes four servings.
3. Chipotle Lime Salmon. This one comes straight from Elana’s Pantry and is super easy to make (and has kickin’ flavor!). Fish is a wonderful staple of a healthy diet and salmon is naturally low in sodium, so be sure to “snap” this recipe up!
Ingredients: One pound of salmon (cut into four fillets), two tablespoons of olive oil, two limes sliced in half, one teaspoon of celtic sea salt, and one teaspoon of chipotle flour.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Rinse the salmon, pat dry and place on a metal baking sheet. Rub each fillet with the olive oil. Squeeze the juices from each half-lime slice onto the fillets. Sprinkle with salt and chipotle, then place the slices on top. Turn the temperature down to 275 degrees. Finally, put the salmon in the oven and cook for about twelve minutes.