It is well known that foods such as ham, sausages, soups, sauces, ready meals, filled pasta, crisps and stock cubes are high in salt. However, even foods that don’t taste salty may be high in salt, including breakfast cereals, bread, crumpets and bagels. Even hot chocolate and cakes may have high levels of salt. Therefore, it is easy for the salt we consume to accumulate. Salt content varies between brands and therefore it is important when food shopping to look at the food labels to see if there is a high salt content or if there is an alternative to the brand you normally buy with a lower salt content. The food label may be colour coded and anything high in salt will be colour coded red and will have >1.5g of salt per 100g. Not all foods will be colour coded, however you can look at the per 100g column on the nutrition information table. If salt is not on the food label, you will need to look at the sodium content and times it by 2.5 to calculate salt.
How to cut down on salt
- Limit foods that are colour coded red (>1.5g of salt per 100g).
- Reduce processed foods such as sausages, ham, salami and replace these with fresh meat produce.
- Drain and rinse canned vegetables and beans.
- Do not put salt on the table.
- Instead of adding salt to your cooking, add herbs, spices, garlic, chilli, and citrus to add flavour.
Try adding: Mint with salads, peas, couscous
Basil in sandwiches, pasta sauces, salads
Chives in mash potato
Cumin with rice and beans
- Cut back on the use of ketchup, soy sauce and mayonnaise and look for reduced salt alternatives.
- Swap filled pasta and pasta sauces for homemade alternatives.
- Be aware that rock salt and sea salt are still salt and therefore just as harmful as table salt and don’t reach for vegetable crisps which often have a higher salt content than normal crisps.