Cut the sodium and replace it with spice blends

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2018

By Toi Degree

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Every day, more and more people are striving to live a healthier lifestyle that includes eating healthier, exercising and choosing to limit or even eliminate specific items from their diets.

The first step in making these changes, which is often the hardest, is to begin. The changes you make in the beginning can be very simple changes at first and once those have been mastered, you move on to more challenging issues. One simple way to begin making these changes is to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

You may be unaware of how much hidden sodium you may be consuming on a daily basis. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — the publication that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services releases every five years — the average daily sodium intake for Americans is 3,400 milligrams per day.

This is an excessive amount that studies show raises blood pressure and poses many other health risks.  Americans should limit daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams daily. This is an upper safe limit, not a recommended daily allowance.

Even active people who lose lots of sodium through sweating require no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. It may be very surprising just how little sodium you need in your day. Once you begin to study your food labels, you will begin to see just how much sodium you are getting daily.

How can you begin making changes and reducing the amount of sodium in your diet? Glad you asked. You can join me on Tuesday, June 19, for Healthy and Homemade. During this Lunch and Learn, you will learn how to make your own spice blends and have a chance to taste them to see how flavorful they are without all the added salt.

Making your own spice blends at home is one of the easiest ways to add flavor to your cooking. Plus, why should you buy pre-packaged mixes when you can make them fresh and better yourself in just a few minutes? Not to mention that when you make it at home, you know it’s free of ingredients you don’t want.

Many products are full of hidden sodium, calories and long ingredient lists. The recipes that will be introduced during this session will allow participants to find healthy recipes to replace packaged foods. These recipes will help you eat cleaner and know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

So if you would like to learn more about healthy and homemade seasoning blends, there is still time and space in the Lunch and Learn. We will begin at noon on June 19 at the Rowan County Extension Office, located at 2727 Old Concord Road. Hope to see you there!

To register, contact me at 704-216-8970 or

Also if you like to have your pressure canner tested I will begin testing lids each Monday, June 11-Aug. 13 2-4 p.m.

Toi Degree is the family and consumer education agent.