THE FACTS ON SALT: February Nutritional Handout

Salt is one of the most commonly utilized seasonings around the world and has long been used as a flavour enhancer and for its preservative properties. There are many types of salt available on the market including table, kosher, sea and Himalayan, to name just a few. All salts, regardless of the type, are very rich in sodium, which is a mineral required by the body to have a normal fluid balance and to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

How much salt is too much salt?

Sodium is needed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. However, having an excessive salt intake (and therefore an excessive sodium intake) has been associated with high blood pressure, and an increased risk of kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.

Healthy adults require 1500 mg sodium daily, and should consume a maximum of 2300mg. Yet the typical Canadian consumes ~3400 mg sodium per day!

[DID YOU KNOW?: Roughly 75% of the sodium we consume daily comes from processed foods including pizza, deli meats, frozen meals, cheese, fast-foods, and store-bought sauces and soups.]

Salt may be found on a food’s ingredient list under several names. Check the label to see if any of the following are listed high up on the ingredient list, if so, the food item is likely high in sodium:

Salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), baking powder, soy sauce

There are many actions you can take to reduce your salt intake:

· Choose unprocessed and whole foods whenever possible

· Cook meals from scratch most frequently as you are in control of the ingredients

· Purchase low-sodium or no salt added products whenever possible

· Limit your use of the salt shaker in the kitchen and at the table

· Choose lower salt options by checking the food label- pick foods items that have less than 15% of your daily sodium intake or less than 360 mg per serving

· Use salt free flavouring in your cooking to enhance the flavour instead. Try using herbs and spices as healthy alternatives without feeling like your dish lacks flavour!

No Salt Needed Seasoning


1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley

1 ¼ teaspoons dried savory

1 ¼ teaspoons ground thyme

1 teaspoon ground mace 1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage



1. Mix garlic powder, basil, parsley, savory, thyme, mace, onion powder, black pepper, sage, and cayenne pepper in a bowl; store in a sealed jar.

2. Use to season meats, vegetables, soups, stews, sauces, etc.

Lower Sodium Minestrone Soup


2 large carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 L reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon dried basil

1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. In a large saucepan, sauté carrots, celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

2. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add macaroni; cook, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender.

3. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

Freeze option: Before adding cheese, freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw then heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary.

Contest-Winning Easy Minestrone

Gingery Chicken and Vegetables


2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil, divided

1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger, divided

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 oz/227 g)

1 small clove garlic, minced

Pinch fresh ground pepper

1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks

2 cups (500 mL) matchstick carrots

2 tbsp (25 mL) red or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp (25 mL) each chopped fresh mint and cilantro (optional)


1. In a shallow dish, stir together 1 tsp (5 mL) of the oil and ½ tbsp of the ginger. Add chicken with garlic and pepper and turn to coat.

2. Place chicken on greased grill or on frying pan over medium heat and cook, turning once for about 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove to cutting board and slice thinly; set aside.

3. In a non-stick skillet, heat remaining sesame oil over medium heat. Cook zucchini and carrots with remaining ginger; stirring for about 5 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar. Toss with mint and basil.

4. Divide among 2 plates and top with sliced chicken.

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