Ask Ginger: Adding Flavor Without Salt
Jun 15

Ask Ginger: Adding Flavor Without Salt

By Let's Move Pittsburgh

You've got questions ... we’ve got answers! Email your queries about healthy foods, physical activity and screen time for kids and Ginger will answer them here on the Phipps blog.


Q: My doctor suggested that I begin a low-sodium diet. Could you recommend a list of seasonings that are not notoriously high in sodium? Could you also talk about some of the sodium-related [u1] claims on packaged products? Thanks! (John, Bloomfield)

A: Hi John - great question! This is a frequently asked question, as many people are now following low-sodium diets. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that a healthy individual intake no more than 2300mg of sodium per day.1 This is because moderate sodium consumption is essential for proper body functioning, yet too much sodium can be detrimental to one’s health. Here are some tips to help in managing your sodium consumption.

Swap This

  • Jarred Sauces (alfredo, barbeque, cocktail, fish, soy, steak, taco, tartar, teraki, tomato…etc)
  • Powdered Sauces and Dressing Mixes
  • Condiments (horseradish, ketchup, mustard, pickle relish)
  • Flavored Salts (onion, garlic, seasoned)
  • MSG

For That

  • Herbs (basil, bay leaves, cilantro, dill, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme…etc.)
  • Spices (chives, curry, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic powder, mace, nutmeg, onion powder, turmeric…etc.)
  • Acids (vinegar, citrus juice)

Salt is a common preservative that’s used to counteract food spoilage and extend products’ shelf life. Therefore, processed and restaurant foods often contain the highest amounts of sodium.2


Look at the Label

The following are sodium-related claims that may appear on product packaging:1

“Sodium (Salt) Free” = less than 5mg of sodium per serving
“Very Low Sodium”less than 35mg of sodium per serving
“Low Sodium” = less than 140mg of sodium per serving
“Reduced” or “Less” Sodium = at least 25% reduced sodium per serving with regard to the original product
“Light in Sodium” = at least 50% reduced sodium per serving with regard to the original product
“Unsalted” or “No Salt” = no additional sodium (salt) was added to the product




1. How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day? #BreakUpWithSalt Sodium Reduction Initiative. Published 2018. Accessed June 13, 2018.

2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eat Right: Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Published 2017. Accessed June 13, 2018.


Photo credit: Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons