There is little doubt about it: food tends to taste better when it has salt in it because it enhances the natural flavours of food. Unfortunately, it is easy to appreciate salt so much that adding it to food while cooking, as well as just before you are about to eat it, becomes second nature. Too much salt can have a number of health implications, most commonly associated with high blood pressure which can lead to heart and kidney problems. However, if you are prepared to experiment a little, there are many ways to ensure that your food is properly seasoned without adding to the salt content.
Taste Before You Add Salt
It is easy to become accustomed to adding in salt before you have even tasted the food you are about to eat. If, for example, you are using a tinned pasta sauce, you may not need to add extra salt when cooking the pasta; in any case, if you do, you can add it afterwards, or perhaps add a touch of pepper or lemon juice to bring out the flavour instead. Whatever you are cooking, try adding a little less salt each time so that you become accustomed to the natural taste of food. If you still think it needs extra flavouring, you can look at alternatives.
Try Low-Sodium Salt
While you are trying to work out how to make your food taste better without extra salt, low-sodium salt is a good bridge. A brand of low-sodium salt readily available in the UK, for example, has 66% less sodium than regular salt. Salt is also known as sodium chloride and some food labels only give the amount of sodium in food – this can be multiplied by 2.5 to give the amount of salt. Cutting down on sodium should therefore mean you are less likely to develop high blood pressure and other health issues related to too much salt. Just take care that you don’t pile on extra low-sodium salt thinking that now you can afford to enjoy a little more.
Make up Your Own Dried Spice and Herb Mix
If you really can’t handle the idea of food without an extra shake or two of seasoning, then experiment with your own spice and herb mix. You can add in a little salt, but make up the rest of the mix by adding garlic, rosemary, thyme, chilli powder, or whatever else you enjoy. Just be careful with dried items, particularly garlic, that they do not come with salt included, otherwise you may still be taking in a large amount of salt without realising.
Add Chives, Leeks, Spring Onions
One reason many people add extra salt to food is that they feel it tastes bland otherwise. However, some food items can make your food tastier without having to add extra salt. Chives, leeks and spring onions are particularly good for this. They taste great when added to casseroles and soups, mashed potato and even fried rice. Chives have the added advantage of being easy to grow, so buy a couple of plants and add them to your garden or window-box. You can dry them for use during the off-season.
A great way of flavouring bland food is to add spices. That doesn’t necessarily mean turning everything into a spicy curry; just a hint of chilli powder or one of the many Indian spices available can liven up your meal, to the extent that you don’t need to add salt for more flavouring. If you have children who struggle with the taste of new things, be sneaky and don’t go overboard at once. In time they will adapt, and will come to love, the new flavours available to them.
Properly seasoned food tastes great and should create a lasting impression on you and your family, but it doesn’t need to be showered in salt to bring out the flavour. Before high blood pressure becomes an issue in your family, try finding some other ways, such as those above, to make food taste better.