Sodium is an important mineral that everyone needs. Very few people struggle with getting enough sodium, in fact, many people struggle with having too much sodium in their diet. If your aging loved one battles hypertension (high blood pressure), her doctor might have talked to you both about helping her reduce her sodium intake.
Reducing sodium intake is not as simple as tucking away the salt shaker and not using it anymore. In reality, most Americans receive the majority of their sodium from foods that they eat that have had salt added during processing or preparation.
So, if it’s not as easy as emptying the salt shaker, how can you help your loved one reduce her sodium intake? There are three key areas to tackle how much salt your loved one is consuming long before the food even hits her plate.
- At the grocery store.
Wise shopping is key to reducing the amount of sodium that even makes its way into the home. If your loved one shops with an elder care provider or has an elder care provider pick up her groceries for her, letting that elder care team know your loved one is on a low-sodium diet is a great beginning. While at the grocery store, help your loved one learn to look at labels. If something has a low-salt or no-salt variety, choose that option. When no options are offered, read the labels of similar products to see which ones have the least amount of sodium. When buying prepared meals, look for those with less than 600 milligrams (mg) of sodium per meal.
The next step is to switch to fresh as much as possible. Instead of canned corn, buy corn on the cob. Instead of frozen chicken breasts, buy fresh ones. These changes will help reduce the sodium coming into the home.
- At home.
At home, it’s time to up your loved one’s seasoning game. Reducing sodium doesn’t have to mean reducing flavor. Build up that spice rack with low or no sodium replacements, such as garlic, dried herbs, and other spices. Just watch out for those premixed spice containers. Many are filled with salt. Look for no-salt or low-salt.
Your loved one will also want to check her snacking habits. If snacking used to be chips and dip, help her prepare fresh veggies and hummus or low-salt ranch dip. Your elder care provider can help by prepping veggies so it’s as easy to grab them to snack on as it was to grab a bag of chips.
Finally, avoid those convenient sauces and instant meals as most are very salt heavy.
- At a restaurant.
While it might be a bit uncomfortable, it’s okay to ask how a meal is prepared at a restaurant and if there is any way to reduce sodium. Many restaurants will send out the chef to help your loved one have a meal that fits her requirements. Stay away from fast food or takeout as much as possible since neither of these can be altered to reduce sodium.
Even reducing sodium intake in one or two of the above areas can help your loved one keep her sodium levels in a healthy range.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Queens, NY please contact the caring staff at Perfect Choice Senior Care today. Call (917) 920-6803
Perfect Choice Senior Care provides exceptional senior care services in Queens, Belle Harbor, Hunters Point, Brooklyn, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Manhattan, Upper West Side, West Village, Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan and surrounding areas.