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The Globe and Mail

Healthy Eating Jump-Start Day 11: Pass on the salt

Jack Hollingsworth/iStockphoto

Have you made a resolution to eat better and lose weight? Follow our month-long program of daily nutrition tips, created by dietitian Leslie Beck to change your lifestyle for January - and beyond. And to get your fitness on track, try our personal trainer-designed Boot Camp 2012 program .

DAY 11: Pass on the salt

If you're in the habit of salting your foods, or adding salt during cooking, kick the habit today.

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Most of us know that too much salt (sodium chloride) is unhealthy: Excess sodium contributes to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The fact is, the average Canadian consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day – more than double what's needed for good health.

While the salt shaker accounts for a smaller amount of sodium in our diet than do processed and restaurant foods, it still adds up.

Remove the salt shaker from the table to break the habit of seasoning food after sitting down. Substitute herbs and spices for salt when cooking – try pepper, garlic flakes (not garlic salt), lemon juice, salsa, green onion, wine or sherry vinegar and herbs. If you keep this up, you'll be surprised at how quickly your taste buds adjust to less salt.

Missed earlier days? It's easy to get caught up.

DAY 10: Plan next week's meals in advance

DAY 9: Eat a leafy green vegetable

DAY 8: Drink a cup of green tea

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DAY 7: Snack on fruit

DAY 6: Use a smaller plate

DAY 5: Eat more veggies

DAY 4: Practise eating slowly

DAY 3: Boost fibre at breakfast

DAY 2: Drink a large glass of water before each meal

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DAY 1: Keep a food diary for the next seven days

Want more information related to today's tip? Read on:

Take recent sodium studies with a grain of salt

How can I eat less salt?

Half a teaspoon less salt a day could save 100,000 lives, study finds

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