Salt Free Diet... Changes

     Yesterday, the exact day that I downloaded Trim Healthy Mama for the first time, my Pawpaw was ordered to change to a salt free diet. He is diabetic and I do a little of his cooking so now I'm reading that book mostly for me but with him in mind too.

     Today, with him still at the hospital, the kids and I removed all of the salt filled foods from his cabinets and freezer. This is only about a fourth of what we cleaned out of his cabinets. 

     Mixes and cans almost always had too much sodium. Ideal was zero, but that didn't leave much. In his main pantry, the remaining items are prunes, raisins, and a half bag of of sugar free chocolate chip type things. In his refrigerator, eggs, applesauce, and sour cream remain.

     Some things surprised me with their sodium content. My mom laughed when I mentioned baking soda to her, see it wasn't just food but things we use to make his food. Over a third of his seasonings were full of salt. Many sugar free things like the great new sugar free cake and icing that we were so happy to find for him and even boxes of sugar free pudding and jello. Pie crust, both frozen and the graham cracker kind, and graham crackers, though I didn't expect to find salt there. Preservatives, my mom warned me, almost anything with preservatives will have sodium.

     Before she brings him home from the hospital, my dad is going by the fruit stand. Powpow is the best gardener I know, and he is already planning to plant mustard greens and turnips where his okra is still growing now. But I'd appreciate any suggestions. Especially if you are already successful with a salt free diet, please leave any helpful tips. We will need to follow that for any food that we prepare for him even in our house, so I see even more changes to our current way of cooking. I hope it results in all of us eating more healthy food.

     I need substitution ideas for some of his favorite things. He eats pancakes and sugar free syrup a lot. That syrup is filled with sodium. Some sugar free jelly had 0 sodium, but I need to find a syrup alternative. Almost every night he eats peanut butter and crackers. I've ground my own peanut butter before, but I ruined a food processor and a blender trying that. I think that we can get peanut butter from Whole Foods that we grind right there with nothing added. What cracker substitute is there that is both sugar free and salt free? I have a feeling that we may be making more homemade bread and crackers.

     The pie crusts surprised me most, and the pudding and jello. We make him a lot of pies. My daughter can make delicious pie crusts, so we will just have to plan ahead with those and be sure we use unsalted butter. But we won't be doing the quick pudding pies in graham cracker crusts or peanut butter pies that he enjoys so much.

     I need your help! Please share your best salt-free/sugar free food prep tips.


  1. Depending on how strict his salt restriction is, you may want to check the levels in vegetables too. Celery, for instance, is high in sodium as well. I don't have any experience in salt-free cooking so I'm not much help. :(

    1. Thanks, Melisa, We removed all of the canned veggies. The frozen ones surprised me as peas for example had 0 for the Steamers bag yet more (I don't remember the exact #) for the Great Value brand. A friend told me water has 7! He is restricted to no salt, so we will be watching everything now. He grows a lot of vegetables, so I hope they are healthier than what we find pre-packaged.

  2. Jennifer,

    You might want to clarify between NO Salt Added versus NO sodium period. Sodium occurs natually in some foods and is necessary in our diet. Different brands have different recipes so the same food/different brand may have a higher/lower sodium ratio. My husband is on a low-salt restriction. He needs to avoid *adding* salt *and* we strive for 300mg or less for meals. Tomatoes have naturally occuring sodium so the label. 15mg I think is what the Tomato Puree said. I switched from tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes to tomato puree. We're doing fresh veggies or frozen that have no salt added. Pre-packed food has become the enemy. I left a comment on the crew board.

    1. None period, or as little as we possibly can. I asked my mom tonight to make sure. We start cooking for him with this new rule when he comes back home tomorrow.

      We were extremely blessed by a friend who shared two bushels of tomatoes this year. I stewed and froze them with nothing added, and they make delicious spaghetti sauce. That was one thing my daughter said as she took a can of tomatoes out of his cabinet, what a good thing it was that we had those in the freezer.

  3. Wow, that would be a hard diet. We have switched to a lot of lower sodium products, but they still have quite a bit of salt!


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