Do you know how much salt you are consuming each day? Did you know that some foods have up to double the maximum daily recommended intake of salt?
Salt is silent in many of our diets – it creeps into many of our favourite dishes without us even realising and consuming high amounts of it, over long periods of time, can cause damage to our bodies, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Recent research by the George Institute has shown Australian men are consuming almost twice the recommended intake of salt each day and women are not far behind. There are some popular foods you would find in most of our cupboards that are the main culprits that have contributed to this.
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Helga’s wraps spokesperson and dietitian Susie Burrell shares her easy ways to slash your salt intake each and every day.
1. Check your labels
It can be difficult to determine how much salt, or more specifically sodium we are eating simply because the nutrition labels we find on packaged foods are so tiny. We often also do not have a reference point to understand what a relatively high quantity of sodium is. The body actually needs some sodium in our diets to maintain fluid balance, so currently the daily limit of sodium for an adult is set at 2,000mg per day. This means that when checking labels, choosing food options that contain less than 400mg sodium per serve is ideal to help keep our daily targets below 2,000mg.
2. Avoid the worst culprits
When it comes to the amount of salt we find in specific foods, there are some notorious offenders in the salt stakes – packet soups, pre-made meals, noodles, sauces and gravies and processed meats can contain as much as 1000mg of sodium in a single serve, which takes up a big portion of the daily recommended salt intake of 2,000mg. For this reason, seeking out specific low sodium varieties of sauces where possible, and seeking out soups that contain no added salt go a long way in slashing your daily salt intake.
3. Look for cooking stocks free from sodium
To help make low sodium cooking a whole lot easier, there are now a number of stocks available in supermarkets that do not contain any added salt. These products, although more expensive, mean that you have flavouring options that do not add loads of salt to your favourite soups, casseroles and risottos.
4. Get rid of the salt shaker
There is more than 2000mg of sodium in a single tablespoon of salt, which is why one of the easiest ways to cut your daily intake of salt is to get rid of the salt shaker. Adding extra salt, like adding sugar to our tea and coffee, becomes a habit over time and as our taste buds adapt to the salty taste of food, food with no added salt can taste flavourless. The same works in reverse, the less you have, the less you will want and the less often you see salt, the less frequently you will add it.
5. Be smart with your wraps
Sometimes foods we assume would be low in sodium are actually not. Some wraps, for example, contain more than double the sodium of other brands.
My delicious healthy nacho bowl recipe uses herbs and spiced instead of salt to add flavour – it’s so tasty and easy to create!
Healthy Nacho Bowl
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4 Mixed Grain Wraps
Olive oil cooking spray
3 corn cobs
1 large red capsicum, diced
½ Iceberg lettuce, shredded
½ cup Greek yoghurt
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
½ cup coriander leaves and lime wedges to serve, optional
600g chicken breast fillet
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp chilli flakes
4 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
400g can no added salt diced tomatoes
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
400g can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1. For the filling; preheat fan forced oven to 200°C. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with paprika and chilli flakes. Heat half the oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook for 3 minutes each side until golden. Transfer chicken to the oven and cook for a further 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes then shred.
2. Add remaining oil to the frying pan with the onion, cook for 3 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, simmer for 3-5 minutes until it thickens. Add the coriander, chicken and black beans, cook for 5 minutes until warmed through.
3.Meanwhile, lightly spray wrap with olive oil, press each into a 18cm (base) cake tin or arrange over upside-down heatproof bowls. Place on a tray and bake for 10 minutes until light golden. Cool for 1 minute then remove to a wire rack, repeat with remaining wraps.
4. Place the corn in a frying pan, cook for 4 minutes, rotating as they start to char on each side. Remove to a board and slice kernels from the cob.
5. To serve, spoon the chicken mixture into wrap bowl. Add the corn, capsicum and lettuce. Top with a dollop of yoghurt, avocado and coriander. Serve with lime wedges.