The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (salt) a day, and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. However, the average American consumes a daily average of 3,400 mg of sodium. Most of that salt comes from processed food and eating out. A high salt diet can raise blood pressure, ultimately increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you cook at home, you can control how much salt goes into your food without sacrificing flavor and taste. Check out these 5 easy ways to pack a punch to your meals without compromising flavor:
Squeeze lime or lemon juice on foods such as fish, chicken, or steamed veggies. The acidity brings out the flavor and makes food taste “bright.” Plus, citrus juice is great for making your own salad dressing!
Salad dressing idea: Olive oil and lemon dressing
Recipe idea: Baked chicken with lemon, garlic and thyme
Add your favorite vinegar
There are so many different types of tasty vinegars that are sure to add flavor to your dish. Examples include red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and sherry vinegar. Try drizzling vinegar on beans, vegetables, soups, and salads.
Recipe idea: Balsamic glazed carrots
Try fresh herbs
Sprinkle finished dishes with fragrant herbs of your choice such as rosemary, parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, dill, thyme, marjoram and oregano. Herbs provide flavor and freshness to any dish. Adding fresh herbs at the end of the cooking/heating process will preserve their bright taste, while adding them during the heating process will create a different, deeper, more earthly flavor.
Recipe idea: Egg salad with fresh dill
Used dried herbs and spices
Dried herbs and spices can be just as flavorful as fresh, but will provide different flavors and aromas than their fresh counterparts. Try spicing up your meals with dried garlic, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, cumin, turmeric, and smoked paprika. As a bonus, many dried herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties!
Add a little heat
Sprinkle dishes with cayenne pepper or chipotle powder, or use chopped jalapeños or serranos in your dish. If you are sensitive to heat, even a little black pepper can help bring in flavor without adding too much spice.
Recipe idea: Tuna stuffed avocado with jalapeños
Need more tips, tricks, & inspiration? Head on over to the Expert channel in your Brook app to get additional info, set a healthy eating goal, ask questions, and more!
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Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN
on February 18, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.