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Help control sodium by cooking at home more

Help control sodium by cooking at home more

Heather Flett and Whitney Moss, of Rookie Moms, are joining the Sodium Blog as Guest Bloggers today.

Did you already know that cooking at home is one of the best things you can do to reduce salt intake? While eating out is yummy and convenient, restaurants may use more butter, salt and sugar than a home cook.

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A 2013 Wall Street Journal article, Where Salt is Lurking on Restaurant Menus, Joy Dubost, director of nutrition at the National Restaurant Association was quoted:

“Salt is indispensable in restaurant kitchens beyond just how it makes food taste. It extends the shelf life of prepared foods, prevents bitterness in produce and encourages binding in breads.”

So yeah, it seems like sodium is in almost everything you order.

Limiting consumption of take-out and convenience foods is a great place to start to improve overall health, especially if you are looking to eat healthier and eat more moderate amounts of sodium.

That said, we know it is easy to suggest that we all cook at home more but it can be daunting to implement. If running around baby-wearing, toddler-chasing, and car-pooling isn’t enough to exhaust us, finding time to cook healthy foods every single day can be.

Here are a few different strategies that we use to make homemade meals achievable.

  1. Write down a menu for the week. Planning makes the week run smoother, we promise. Whitney has themes for each night to make this even simpler: Monday is breakfast for dinner; Tuesday is DIY tacos, Wednesday is pasta and veggies (with zoodles for the grown-ups!); Thursday is take-out; Friday is pizza night; and Saturday and Sunday are wild cards.

  2. Try a weekly Big Cook on Sunday. There are many ways to tackle the big cook, but Heather likes to season and grill a flank steak and then work her way through the slices on salads, tacos, and sandwiches throughout the week. Another friend, Wendy, roasts a chicken on Sunday and uses the meat for salads, soups, and quesadillas for dinners.

  3. Pre-chop veggies. Sunday is a good day to cut up vegetables for snacks and meals. When Heather chops an onion for a recipe, she dices a few extras and keeps them on-hand. Having washed and trimmed veggies at the ready makes it much easier to grab a healthy handful of celery or broccoli for dip instead of chips.

  4. Keep a fruit bowl stocked. All of our kids know that before-dinner snacks should be fruits and vegetables. We keep the crisper stocked and the fruit bowl as full as we can. Yes, they still eat loads of crackers, but they know after 5 pm, snacks must be something that grew out of the ground.

  5. Make your own sauces. Marinades, dressings, and dips can be packed with sodium. Try a fancy salad dressing bottle that shows the amounts of various oils, vinegars, and spices to make a great salad dressing. Then just shake it! It is almost as easy as store-bought – and definitely healthier.

Of course we still use restaurants and take-out meals because we are busy moms. We share these tips not to boss you around, but in the hopes they help you take baby steps toward healthier family eating.

Heather Flett and Whitney Moss, of Rookie Moms, are joining the Sodium Blog as Guest Bloggers today. You can connect with Heather and Whitney on Twitter at @rookiemoms or via the Rookie Moms Facebook page.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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