Use fresh herbs and spices
One of the best ways to add flavor and dimension to your meals is by using fresh herbs and spices! Experiment with fresh cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme in your dishes. Dried spices like curry powder and cumin are excellent options, but always buy the sodium-free versions. Even simply using garlic and onion as a base for most cooked dishes amps up the flavor profile considerably. Here’s just one example of a recipe that packs plenty of flavor thanks to its liberal use of herbs and spices.
Buy organic, locally-grown foods
Quality is king! Purchasing organic, or locally-grown ingredients ensures that your food has the highest nutritional content, and is richest in flavor. Conventionally farmed food is typically grown in soil that is higher in nitrogen, which can reduce antioxidant levels that enhance flavor and taste.
Avoid packaged and processed foods
Excess sodium is hiding everywhere – in baked goods, condiments, beverages, canned food, and even frozen food! Read nutrition labels when purchasing processed foods. It’s also best to rinse off canned foods, such as beans, before using – or better yet, soak and cook your own!
Add some spicy heat
A great way to add flavor is by adding heat to your dishes! Cayenne, chill peppers, red pepper flakes, or jalapeños… whatever your heart desires. Instead of adding salt to corn on the cob, try adding a sprinkle of cayenne or red pepper flakes for a flavor kick. The only exception is if you have a heart condition. Always check with your doctor first before you go heavy on the heat.
Boost acid profiles
All the top chefs talk about adding acid profiles to their dishes; it’s another great way to enhance and elevate flavor without salt! Try experimenting with a dash of vinegar, or citrus juices like lemon, lime or orange juice. Tomatoes are a great ingredient that will add an acid dimension to your dishes!
Try the DASH Diet
The DASH Diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which focuses on reducing salt intake and lowering blood pressure. This is a balanced, lifestyle-based approach to eating that increases the consumption of fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, eggs, healthy oils, etc., while reducing processed foods. For more information on the DASH Diet, speak with your doctor, and check out the information here.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient! Our tastes adjust over time, and by following the tips above, you’ll find that excess salt is totally unnecessary, and your salt cravings will subside. Allow your taste buds to re-learn, and be kind to your body.