Making small steps can improve your and your family’s health. Although most salt comes from processed, packaged, and restaurant foods, salt can be reduced in all types of meal preparation.
Frozen and canned foods can seem like the easier and cheaper choices but sometimes have the most amount of salt. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer canned foods; buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or seasonings. Cut back on chips and baked goods (and don’t drink sugary drinks when you are thirsty). Check labels when buying packaged meats; some poultry and meat can be packaged in high salt solutions. Read menu labels and nutrition labels and choose items with lower salt or “no salt” added. Talk to your local store about stocking lower salt food choices. Find out more about the Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Initiative.
Did you know the average restaurant meal has a day’s worth of salt? Here’s how you can easily reduce your salt
- Control your portions – the larger the portion, the more salt.
- Share your meal with a friend
- Ask for a box with your meal and pack away half before
you start eating
- Choose smaller meals
- Split an appetizer with friends
- Ask your server to prepare a low-salt version of your favorite meal; ask the manager to add more low-salt choices to menu.
- Ask your server / manager to prepare a low-salt version of your favorite meal; ask the manager to add more low-salt choices to menu. Find out more about the Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-Out Initiative.
- Skip (or ask to be served on the side) toppings, dressings or sauces.
- Choose healthier sides instead of fries.
- Taste your food before adding salt. It might have enough already.
- Look for menu labeling with salt content or ask for a copy of nutritional information.
Healthy Dining Out Salt Criteria for a Single Meal*
The graphic below provides healthy dining recommendations for a single adult and kids’ meal. Follow these guidelines next time you dine out to help you make a healthier choice.
Eat This, Not That
Here are some examples of real menu items from Philadelphia restaurants with popular alternatives. Give healthier a try!
Preparing meals at home is one of the most enjoyable times to spend with your family and children – why not add more love with health?
- Enjoy meals at home more rather than eating out.
- Use more fresh foods instead of processed foods.
- Avoid salting foods before or during cooking.
- Limit salt shaker use at the table.
- Cut down on adding salt to recipes (start with ½ teaspoon if a recipe calls for 1 tsp).
- Rinse canned vegetables and beans before using; this removes some of the salt.
- Check the amount of salt in seasonings (garlic salt, adobo).
- Use garlic powder instead of garlic salt or other salt-free seasonings.
- Create your own seasonings or marinades with herbs and spices to add flavor.