When a dish calls for soy, fish, oyster, or any other Asian-inspired sauce, look no further than your friend molasses. When combined with unseasoned rice-wine vinegar and other seasonings, the molasses mixture provides a satisfying replacement for marinades, mixes, and even teriyaki sauce — keeping the dark look and fermented taste of the original while cutting down the sodium.
Soy Sauce: More than 1,000 milligrams sodium per tablespoon
Teriyaki: 690 milligrams sodium per tablespoon
Oyster: 490 milligrams sodium per tablespoon
Molasses: 10 milligrams sodium per tablespoon, depending on brand
According to the CDC, bread is one of the top sodium culprits, clocking around 80 milligrams to 230 milligrams of sodium per slice. Which, when you consider breakfast and sandwiches and even snacks before dinner, can quickly add up throughout the day. Although no-salt-added bread does exist, use this as an excuse to think outside of the breadbox. Wrap your next sandwich in corn tortillas, strong leafy greens, or even large cabbage leaves.
White Bread: 80 to 230 milligrams per slice
Corn tortilla: 5 milligrams sodium per tortilla, depending on brand
Collard Greens: Approximately 10 milligrams sodium per leaf
Most milk products — hemp and soy included — can contain upward of 100 milligrams of sodium per cup.That may fit within most people’s dietary limits, but it can also add up throughout the day. If you’re looking for a lower-sodium switch, coconut milk (now in cartons!) works well for cereal, curries, and even your morning cup of joe.
2 Percent Milk: 115 milligrams sodium per cup
Coconut Milk: 15 milligrams sodium per cup, depending on brand
Mayonnaise will contain more than 100 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon, which means a hearty slather can quickly become a high-sodium spread. In its place, you have a few low-sodium options. The first is soy-based yogurt, which is both low in sodium and creamy enough for coleslaws, chicken salads, and sandwiches. Another one is sodium-free silken tofu, which when blended with salt-free garlic powder and other strong spices, makes an easy homemade option. And lastly, certain hemp seed oil-based mayonnaises not only have 5 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon, but are also starting to show up on grocery store shelves.
Mayonnaise: 100 milligrams sodium per tablespoon
Plain Soy Yogurt: 15 milligrams per 6-ounce container, depending on brand
Silken Tofu: 0 milligrams sodium, depending on brand
Hemp Seed Oil Mayonnaise: 5 milligrams per tablespoon, depending on brand
When a recipe calls for this high-sodium ingredient, put down the can and whip up some quick mushroom broth. After only 30 minutes of boiling these fungi, dried or fresh, you’ll end up with an earthy broth that’s full of natural umami flavor (not salt). Which means a great low-sodium base for soups, stews, and stuffing.
Canned Chicken Broth, Ready to Serve: 860 milligrams sodium per cup
Mushroom Broth: Practically sodium free (6 milligrams of sodium per cup cooked shiitake mushrooms)
When your next pasta, Greek salad, or cheese plate calls for the tang of olives, look no further than baked grapes or pickled cherries to take their place. Sure, they’re not salty and they aren’t olives, but they’ll add a fun and unexpected twist to traditional olive-rich dishes.
Olives: 420 milligrams per 10 olives (1,550 milligrams sodium per 3.5 ounces)
Grapes: 0 milligrams sodium
Cherries: 0 milligrams sodium
Take a page from vegan friends and get your hands on nutritional yeast, often sold in flake or powder form. Sprinkle it on popcorn, mix it into this year’s Thanksgiving mash, or knead it right into homemade pizza dough for a familiar zesty kick.
Parmesan: 380 milligrams sodium per ¼ cup, grated
Nutritional yeast: 0 milligrams sodium
There’s good news and great news. The good news: no-salt-added tomato sauce exists and there are many brands to choose from, including cans of puréed pumpkin or sweet potato that add flavor to homemade pasta and pizza sauces. All great if you’re in a pinch. As for the even better news: it’s very easy to give these ready-to-eat sauces some spice with your own herbs and seasonings. So start with a salt-free tomato (or pumpkin) base, and then give it a tasty makeover of your own creation.
Canned Tomato Sauce: 1,280 milligrams per 1 cup
No-Salt-Added Tomato Sauce: 30 milligrams per cup, depending on brand
When you’re looking for a cheese sauce without all the butter, cream, and sodium, try puréed cauliflower instead. It pairs well with macaroni, pizza, and spoons.
Prepared Alfredo Sauce: 1,080 milligrams sodium ½ cup
Pureed Cauliflower: 16 milligrams sodium per ½ cup