Top 10 Salt Substitutes to Slash the Sodium

Too much salt causes high blood pressure, which can damage your kidneys, heart and blood vessels. Cutting down salt can help you live a longer, healthier life. Here are my Top 10 Salt Substitutions that are easy to incorporate into both holiday and everyday cooking.

  1. Mushroom broth* instead of salted chicken or beef stock
  2. Pickled grapes or cherries* instead of olives
  3. Corn tortillas or rice wrappers instead of wheat tortillas or bread
  4. Salt-free herb blends instead of seasoning salt
  5. Diluted soy sauce with pineapple juice instead of straight soy sauce
  6. Dried beans instead of canned beans
  7. Homemade popcorn instead of packaged, salted microwave popcorn
  8. Oatmeal from scratch instead of instant oatmeal
  9. Oil and vinegar or lemon juice instead of salty salad dressing
  10. Unsalted potato or corn chips instead of salted ones

*recipe below

Quick Mushroom Broth
5–8 dried mushrooms
2–4 cups water
¼ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped carrots and celery

Put everything in a saucepan, heat to boiling, turn down heat and let simmer about ten minutes. Remove from heat, strain and use in any recipe that calls for chicken or beef broth.

Nutritional information (per cup): Calories: 23, Carbohydrates: 4 grams, Protein 1 gram, Sodium: 20 milligrams

white mushroom soup on a plate close up

Quick Pickled Grapes or Cherries
2 cups white or champagne vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
10 whole cloves
5 black peppercorns
¼ cup fresh tarragon or dried
1 bunch green, red or concord grapes, or cherries, or a mixture

Put vinegar, sugar and all spices but tarragon in a saucepan. Boil over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add tarragon and grapes. Allow to sit at least 1 hour, or overnight. Use as a substitute for olives in Greek salads or fruit salads.  

Nutritional information (per 1/4 cup): Calories: 83, Carbohydrates: 20, Protein: 0 grams, Sodium: 1 gram

glass jar with canned grapes, grape leaves and spice on wooden table

The recipes in this column are intended for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.  

Contributor Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and nutrition and fitness manager at Northwest Kidney Centers. She has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. To see more of her recipes, click here.