Want to know how to reduce salt in your diet? Let’s start by being honest. Not many people really want to take the time to measure the specific amount of salt in their diet. The idea of measuring salt intake can even scare people away from eating less sodium. Are you the type of person that doesn’t want to measure salt? If so, I have a simple trick that will help you keep your salt low without having to use a calculator.
The Magical 1/8 tsp
Here’s how it works. In my other salt articles, I mentioned the American Heart Association recommendation. They say that people who have high blood pressure should keep salt below 1500 mg a day. That’s where my trick comes in. The trick is to keep the salt you add to your food per meal at 1/8 tsp of salt or less. The only number you need to remember is 1/8 tsp of salt! That’s it. I’ll explain it more, but if you’re not a fan of numbers hold on to the idea of 1/8 tsp of salt.
I know what you’re thinking at this point. “1/8 tsp of salt? That’s nothing!” Truth be told, it can seem like a pretty low number. But it is very doable! The easiest way to do it is to have one portion of the meal that you know will need some salt. This will probably be some type of meat or soup. This portion of the food gets most of the salt.
The rest of the meal will be vegetables and grains. Vegetables can be boiled or roasted without adding any salt. If you think a vegetable needs salt, then you should stay away from that vegetable. Focus on vegetables that are naturally tasty. Next is the grains. If you are eating a pre-made grain for dinner (like bread or store-bought biscuits) for dinner, then it will have salt added to it already. That is perfectly fine. 1/8 tsp of salt accounts for the salt that you cannot control. Just please, don’t add salt to pre-packaged grains. A little bit of salt in rice that you make is okay though.
Now, if you aren’t a numbers person, you can look away at this point. But only if you are okay with taking my previous words at face value. You now know how to reduce salt from your diet. The skeptics out there probably want to know why this method works. Well my non believing friend, it all comes down to math. There is an estimated 2,235 mg of sodium in 1 tsp of salt. We want to be down to the 1500 mg of sodium level. 1/8 tsp of salt is about 280 mg of sodium. If you eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) then you will have eaten a total of 840 mg of sodium. The other 660 mg of sodium (1500-840=660) will come from the salt that you can’t control. This will allow you to control your diet without completely obsessing over it.
If you are cooking larger portions or for other people just multiply 1/8 by the amount of servings you are making. I’m including a chart below to summarize these numbers.
|AMOUNT OF SALT (TSP)||AMOUNT OF SODIUM (MG)|
|1/8 tsp of salt||280|
|1/4 tsp of salt||560|
|1/2 tsp of salt||1120|
|1 tsp of salt||2235|
Now you should have mastered how to reduce salt from your diet. I hope you find this shortcut helpful. I use it every time I cook dinner. Be sure to check out my other articles on Mediterranean Diet and losing weight. Also, check out the recipes section. And definitely check out the meal planning section. You won’t be disappointed!