Low-Sodium Seasoning Ideas and Recipes


The average American consumes 3400 milligrams of sodium per day. The FDA recommends 2300 milligrams a day for low-risk Americans, but 1500 milligrams per day for many others including people over 51, African Americans and those with high blood pressure. This means that the average American consumes significantly more than the recommended daily dose of sodium, and those that are in the high-risk category are consuming dangerously more.

This is of particular importance for menu-planning in healthcare facilities. The food prepared in these kitchens is often served to patients with high blood pressure, kidney disease or other issues that require a low-sodium diet. And while salt is unquestionably delicious, the good news is that there is a host of alternative flavorings out there. With creative cooking and the use of fresh herbs and spices, there is no reason why a low-sodium diet should relegate patients to a life of rice cakes and celery sticks.

For ideas and inspiration for your low-sodium menu items, we’ve created a cheat sheet for busy chefs. Use the chart below to discover spices and herbs that add some sodium-free zing to any staple ingredients.

If you’re making…Ditch the salt and try…Sample recipes

FishBasil, curry powder, dill, garlic, lemon juice, mustard (dry), nutmeg, paprika, parsley, sage, turmericBahamian Baked Grouper
ChickenAllspice, bay leaves, caraway seeds, curry powder, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, mustard (dry), nutmeg, onion, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, thymeSauteed Zuccini with Lemon-Thyme Chicken
BeefAllspice, basil, curry powder, dill, mace, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, savoryIndian Pot Roast
LambAllspice, basil, bay leaves, caraway seeds, chives, curry powder, dill, garlic, lemon juice, mustard (dry), nutmeg, onion, paprika, parsley, sage, savory, thyme, turmericMiddle Eastern Lamb
MeatloafAllspice, basil, chives, caraway seeds, mustard (dry), nutmeg, rosemary, savoryLow Sodium Meat Loaf
RiceAllspice, curry powder, dill, garlic, mustard (dry), onion, paprika, rosemary, sage, savory, turmericDirty Rice
BreadCaraway seeds, cinnamon, mace, rosemaryHoney Almond Focaccia
StuffingAllspice, onion, rosemaryTurkey Stuffing
SoupBasil, bay leaves, caraway seeds, chives, curry powder, dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, savory, thymeVegetable Carrot Soup
StewAllspice, basil, bay leaves, caraway seeds, onion, sageBeef and Plum Stew
CasseroleAllspice, caraway seeds, chives, curry powder, dill, garlic, lemon juice, mace, mustard (dry), onion, paprika, pimientoLow Sodium Green Bean Casserole
VegetablesChives, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, onion, paprika, parsley, pimientoVeggie Stir Fry
SaladBasil, caraway seeds, chives, vinegar, dill, garlic, lemon juice, mace, mustard (dry), onion, paprika, parsley, pimiento, savory, thymeSpicy Southwestern Slaw
PotatoesDill, garlic, lemon juice, mace, nutmeg, rosemaryBetter Mashed Potatoes
SaucesAllspice, basil, chives, vinegar, dill, mustard (dry), onion, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmericSpicy Lime, Cilantro and Garlic Marinade

In addition to replacing salt and salty bouillon with other seasonings, it is important to read the labels of other ingredients used as sodium can sneak into sometimes in unexpected places. Look out for canned foods, barbecue sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, soy sauce and cheeses. With due diligence and creative flavoring, maintaining a low sodium diet can be easy and delicious.


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Sara Henderson

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