Best Low-Sodium Recipes for Senior Health

Best Low-Sodium Recipes for Senior Health

Seniors who have been advised to follow a low-sodium diet for health reasons might wonder how to best season their food. While it might seem that avoiding salt is simple – just don’t add it to a recipe – it’s definitely not that easy. Many ingredients that are used to make a dish are loaded with sodium, which means you might be getting too much salt well before you even have the opportunity to add any in.

The word about too much salt is definitely spreading. According to the American Heart Association, 75% of Americans want less sodium in processed foods and restaurant meals.And there’s good reason for that, as Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, on average. That’s well above the daily recommendation of less than 2,300 milligrams per day.2

Why is that so high? Interestingly enough, it’s not table salt that’s the culprit. About 40% of the sodium Americans consume comes from prepared and processed foods, like pizza, deli sandwiches, tacos, burgers, omelets, soup, and savory snacks, like chips or crackers.3

The good news is that you can cut down dramatically on the sodium you get each day by cooking more at home and using recipes that are focused on lower sodium. Those on a low-sodium diet should consume no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day.4This will necessitate not only cutting back on the use of table salt, but making sure that you are using ingredients that are labeled “low-sodium.”

Why is Too Much Sodium Bad for Seniors?

The CDC reports that high levels of sodium contribute to high blood pressure as well as cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. And since high blood pressure is a contributing factor to the death of 500,000 people each year, it’s safe to say that lowering one’s blood pressure could potentially save your life.5

If you are among the almost half of all Americans who have high blood pressure, a low-sodium diet could benefit you.6 You may also want to seriously consider medical alert technology as your safety net in case of a medical event or any other emergency. Wearing a medical alert pendant, watch, or wristband can ensure that you have help available literally right at your fingertips. If you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or weak, you can simply press the SOS emergency button alarm to reach a 24/7 monitoring center and get the help you need fast.

It’s also a great idea to have a panic button alarm handy while working in the kitchen. If any type of accident does occur, an affordable senior life-saving alert system can be invaluable.

Are you ready to get into the kitchen to cook up some recipes so delicious that you won’t miss the salt? Here are some of the best low sodium recipes to try!

Spiced Oatmeal

A hearty breakfast is an excellent way for any senior to start the day, and this spiced oatmeal makes it delightfully easy. No sodium is involved and you can make this overnight, so it’s ready to enjoy first thing in the morning.

·         1 cup milk of your choice

·         1 cup rolled oats

·         ¼ cup dried cranberries

·         ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

·         ¼ tsp. ground ginger

·         ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

·         ½ tsp. vanilla extract

·         Sliced almonds, optional

In a mason jar, combine the milk, oats, cranberries, spices, and extract. Mix all ingredients very well by sealing the jar with the lid and shaking it gently. Put the jar in the refrigerator overnight (at least eight hours).

Stir the oats with a long-handled spoon and add in the almonds, if desired. Enjoy!

No Sodium Spaghetti Sauce

So many wonderful meals use spaghetti sauce to give them a great zing, but unfortunately, store-bought spaghetti sauce is loaded with salt. By making your own and using very carefully selected ingredients, you can create spaghetti sauce to use as a base for many meals without any added sodium.

·         ½ cup chopped onions

·         1 tbsp. olive oil

·         15 ounce can of no-salt-added tomato sauce

·         ½ cup no-salt-added tomato paste

·         1-2 tbsps. sugar (to taste)

·         3 tsps. minced garlic

·         1 tsp. oregano

·         2 tbsps. dried basil

·         1 bay leaf

·         A dash of red pepper flakes

·         1 ½ cups water

In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are tender. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste, blending well with the water. Stir in all the spices. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce is at the thickness you prefer, remove the bay leaf. Use in a variety of dishes or simply ladle over cooked pasta.

Kebabs and Rice

These traditional kebabs are marinated in Italian dressing to bring out the flavor. You can change things up with different types of dressings and marinades. Look for those that have low-sodium or no-salt-added to make sure that this healthy dinner is good for your heart.

This recipe serves one but can double, triple, or more with ease.

·         ½ cup brown rice

·         2 cups water

·         4 ounces boneless chicken, cut into small pieces

·         2 tbsps. fat-free Italian dressing

·         1 green pepper, sliced into small pieces

·         4 cherry tomatoes

·         1 small onion, cut into wedges

You will need wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use stainless steel skewers.

Make the rice by combining the rice and water in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the rice until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, place the chicken into a small bowl with the dressing. Make sure each piece is well-covered. Put it in the refrigerator while you cut up the vegetables.

Prepare the cooking source. This could be a fire in a charcoal or gas grill or a broiler in your oven. Coat a grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position it about four inches away from the heat.

Thread the chicken, peppers, tomatoes, and onions on the skewers. Immediately place them on the grill pan or broiler pan. Let them cook for five to ten minutes, turning them as needed for even cooking.

Serve with the rice.

Blue Cheese and Apple Pork

This unique blend of flavors is so intense that you won’t miss the salt! If you prefer something a little more sophisticated, you can replace the apple juice with an equal amount of white wine.

·         1 pound pork tenderloin

·         ½ tsp. white pepper

·         1 tsp. black pepper

·         ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

·         ½ tsp. paprika

·         2 tsps. olive oil

·         2 apples, sliced thin

·         ½ cup unsweetened apple juice

·         ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim any fat from the pork and season well with the spices. Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet and add the tenderloin, searing each side well. Once the tenderloin is seared, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, testing it with a thermometer to a temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove it from the oven and let it rest under aluminum foil.

Back on the stovetop, add the apples to the pan. Saute them until they are golden brown. Add the juice and simmer until the liquid reduces by half.

Slice the pork, spoon the apples and liquid over the top, and sprinkle the dish with blue cheese.

No Sodium Easy White Bread

Look at any loaf of bread you buy from the supermarket, and you’ll be amazed at the amount of sodium in each slice. And even most recipes for making bread seem to require at least a teaspoon of salt. Avoid that with this unique bread that cuts out the salt altogether.

You’ll need a bread machine for this recipe.

·         1 cup warm water

·         1 tbsp. olive oil or unsalted butter

·         1 ¼ tsps. sugar

·         1 ¼ tsps. yeast

·         3 ¼ cups flour

·         1 egg white

Combine the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast to the sugar and water mixture and let it sit for a minute. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the bread machine’s pan, add the olive oil, then gently add the flour.

Start the machine on the plain bread or French loaf setting. Let it run for about five minutes or until the ingredients are forming a ball around the paddle. At this point, add the egg white.

Then simply let the breadmaker do the work!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

These muffins are incredibly versatile. Have them as a hearty breakfast along with an egg-white omelet or on their own. Serve them alongside the pork recipe listed above. Or look to them as a small after-dinner treat.

Keep in mind that to make these truly low-sodium, you’ll need the sodium-free ingredients listed. Though you can use regular baking soda and baking powder in this recipe, it will drive up the sodium content.

·         1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

·         1 cup of brown sugar

·         ½ cup vegetable oil

·         2 eggs

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         2 tsps. no-sodium baking soda

·         ½ tsp. no-sodium baking powder

·         2 tsps. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and use cooking spray to grease a muffin pan.

Whisk together the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, and oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until they are just combined (the mixture might be a little lumpy). Pour the batter into the muffin tin and bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

There are few meals more satisfying than those that cook for a long, slow time in the crockpot. This soup is low in sodium and big on fiber.

·         1 tbsp. olive oil

·         1 medium onion, chopped fine

·         4 cloves of minced garlic

·         1 yellow bell pepper, chopped fine

·         1 red bell pepper, chopped fine

·         Four 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained (no salt added)

·         2 cups water

·         1 tsp. ground cumin

·         1 tsp. ground black pepper

·         4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

·         Cilantro, chopped (for topping)

·         The juice of two limes

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions and peppers until tender. Add the garlic, sauté another minute, then remove from the heat. Add the mixture to the crockpot along with the beans and all other ingredients except cilantro. Cook the soup in the crockpot for eight hours on low. Add the cilantro to each individual bowl right before serving.

Avoiding Common Kitchen Mistakes

Spills are a leading cause of falls in the kitchen. Other dangers include using unstable cutting boards, getting cut on knives and other sharp objects hiding in the dish water, and even splitting bagels or avocados.

Avoid these problems by cleaning up all spills immediately to reduce your fall risk and using cutting boards only on a flat, stable surface. It’s also a good idea to not put knives in the dish water, but rather, keep them to the side and very deliberately clean them, one at a time.

When you’re in the kitchen or anywhere around the home, a medical alert device can be your best friend. If you suffer any adverse event, you can press the button alert to get help immediately. The friendly professional who comes on the line can get in touch with someone you designated as a contact in case things go wrong, or they can call for emergency services, or both. No matter what, you will never be alone if you choose an Alert1 Medical Alert as your kitchen companion. Enjoy the recipes!