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Low-Sodium Dinner Ideas

December 10, 2010

Recently I received this question on FOODPICKER.org:

Question:

I have pre-diabetes and have just been diagnosed with high blood pressure as well.  My doctor says to watch my sodium intake.  I feel like I’ve been hit with a double whammy!  In addition to trying to lose weight and watch my carb intake, I now have to watch my salt as well.  Could you give me some low salt ideas for dinner meals?

Answer:

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) would be a great diet to follow.  It is not a “typical fad diet,” but will help you make lifestyle changes that will help control your pre-diabetes, prevent diabetes, and lower blood pressure.  The DASH diet focuses on high fruit and vegetable, low-fat dairy, and low-fat/low-sodium food consumption.  For dinners, focus on preparing lean meats (chicken, turkey, salmon, cod, etc.), vegetable dishes (steamed, grilled), salads (full of fresh vegetables, no cheese, with low-fat or oil-based dressings), and whole grain pasta, bread, or rice.  These fresh foods are not processed foods and are therefore naturally lower in sodium that foods found in a can or pre-made.

Ways to decrease added salt:

  • Use spices and herbs.  These add lots flavor to your food without the salt.
  • Marinate your lean meats before cooking them.

Try this delicious recipe!

Pasta Fagioli

This recipe can very easily be halved if necessary.  Serve with a salad of mixed greens and French bread.

1 lb. whole-wheat pasta, boiled

2 T. olive oil

1 T. minced garlic

½ tsp. red-pepper flakes

28 oz. canned diced tomatoes

1 ½ to 2 tsp. oregano

2 cans beans, approx. 15 oz each cannelloni, chickpeas, kidney, or your choice, drained

½ lb. fresh spinach, torn or other greens such as chard, kale, etc.

Fat-free Parmesan blend for sprinkling on top

Heat oil, garlic, oregano, and red-pepper flakes over low heat until garlic smells fragrant but does not brown, about 2 minutes.  Add everything else except spinach and Parmesan blend.  Bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes.  Stir in spinach.  Cook just until wilted.  Pour over cooked pasta.  Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan blend.  Enjoy!

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