Think you’ve shaken the salt out of your diet? While it’s easy to control the amount of salt you sprinkle on at mealtime, it’s the sodium that’s hidden in many common foods that’s the problem. In fact, 70 per cent of people still have too much salt in their diet, putting them at risk of high blood pressure and other health conditions. Take a look at these surprisingly salty staples lurking at home and then put our expert’s solutions to work!
From pasta sauces to Asian satay and soy sauce, some popular brands contain half your recommended daily intake of salt in just 1 tablespoon. So read the labels carefully. “Ideally, you should be selecting foods with less than 400mg sodium per 100g,” says dietitian Joel Feren.
Store-bought dressing can have as much as 350mg per 2 tablespoons, especially fat-free varieties that use salt to add flavour. Better to DIY and whisk together extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. “Don’t forget to add flavour in other ways using herbs, spices and chilli,” tips Feren.
While most brekkie options now adhere to the 400mg of sodium per 100g target, some flaky cereals still have almost as much salt as a small packet of chips. Read the nutrition label before buying and pay attention to the salt and sugar content, to help decide between brands.
That yummy, moreish flavour is partly thanks to the combination of creaminess (fat) and salt. The worst offenders are highly processed cheese slices, cheddar, Parmesan, haloumi and feta. Your lowest salt options are ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Swiss cheese.
There’s nothing nicer on a chilly day than a bowl of warming soup. And while not all tins, pouches and pots of soup are salt bombs, some offenders contain more than half your daily sodium limit. The amount varies wildly between brands, so compare the nutrition info to find low-salt options.
Salt is added to bread during baking to stabilise yeast, act as a preservative and boost flavour, but some loaves are a significant source of salt, packing more than 100mg per slice. Need a guide? “Foods with less than 120mg sodium per 100g are the gold standard,” says Feren.