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Cook with less salt

herbs and spicesReady to put down the saltshaker? You can cook delicious and nutritious meals with less salt! The trick is using a variety of herbs and seasonings to kick up the flavor. Try these tips:

  • Add fresh or dried herbs. For starters, try basil, oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, sage, mint or ginger. Rosemary pairs nicely with chicken and tarragon mixes well with scrambled eggs.
  • Sprinkle in spices. Use paprika, black pepper, turmeric, cumin or cinnamon for flavor in pasta salads, sauces and soups.
  • Harness the power of chili powder. Hot peppers and hot sauces can also spice things up.
  • Experiment with seasoning blends. Try Italian seasoning with salmon or lemon pepper with chicken and vegetables. Be sure to check the labels of seasoning blends for salt.
  • Use garlic and onion in vegetables, meats, salads and stews. Enjoy the flavors of fresh pressed garlic or chopped onion—or substitute garlic powder and onion powder.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. View more information on the DASH diet.

Need some meal ideas? Try this healthy recipe tonight!

Tuscan beans with tomatoes and oregano
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 can (15½-oz.) low-sodium chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt-free seasoning blend
4 whole inner leaves of romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried

Directions
1. In a large salad bowl, combine beans and tomatoes.
2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, oregano, pepper and salt-free seasoning blend. Using a wire whisk, beat the ingredients until they blend into one thick sauce at the point where the oil and vinegar no longer separate.
3. Pour the dressing over the beans and tomatoes, and mix gently to coat.
4. Line four salad bowls with one romaine lettuce leaf each.
5. Top each leaf with one-fourth of the bean mixture, and serve.

Tip: Serve with a fresh green salad and crusty bread to soak up the delicious dressing.
Note: If you can't find beans labeled “low sodium,” compare the Nutrition Facts panels to find the beans with the lowest amount of sodium. Rinsing can help further reduce the sodium level.

Per serving: 265 calories, 10 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 116 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 12 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 731 mg potassium.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.