Jump Start: Self Care September: Day 2

It’s another food and drink day, and this one should be either free or very cheap depending upon how you’re stocked. Time for some good, fresh, healthy food…

Jump Start Self Care September day 2

Today’s activity is to avoid added salt. It’s easy to become fixated on refined sugar and saturated / trans fats in heavily processed foods, but the other big nasty in junk food is good old sodium chloride. We need small amounts of it to stay alive, but it’s very easy to have too much of the stuff.

The most salt an average adult should have in one day is about 6g, a level teaspoon, or less.

Salt has always been part of the recipes for common foods like bread and cheese, so if you’re going to have these today then try to have moderate amounts.

The thing that might surprise you is that many foods and medicines contain hidden salt, for example:

  • Many breakfast cereals, including lots of the high fibre and bran ones
  • Dissolvable, fizzy vitamins
  • Dissolvable (effervescent) painkillers
  • Many shop-bought sandwiches

So today, lay off the ready meals, processed meats and takeaways, and check the back of your cereal packet etc to make sure you know what you’re getting. If the salt on the packaging is only listed as ‘sodium’ then multiply the weight by 2.5 to get the true amount of salt.

Avoid adding salt during cooking and don’t add it at the table either. Most chutneys, gravies, ketchups and mustards are high in salt too, so give them a rest today. To enhance the flavour of the food, add herbs, spices or a squeeze of lemon. Take your time when eating, and give your tastebuds time to adjust to the new balance of flavours.

There are some great tips for reducing your general salt intake on the NHS Livewell site, so that’s worth a look today if you have time.

Today I’ll be having fruit porridge for breakfast, fruit for snacks, a home made cous cous salad with olive oil and lemon juice dressing for lunch, and a stir-fry with steamed rice for dinner. I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth compared to most people and tend to reach for the crisps before the chocolate, so my kidneys are probably going to be having a happy day…

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