Salt is often a big concern, whether your elderly family member has heart disease or other health issues. But it’s not so easy to reduce sodium intake at first.
Opt for Fresh Meats Rather than Canned or Processed Versions.
Canned meats, like canned chicken, and processed meats, such as lunch meats, can be convenient, but they’re often very high in sodium. That’s because the salt helps to preserve the meat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have such great results for your senior. Fresh versions of those foods are a better option because your senior can control the sodium levels more readily.
Rinse Canned Vegetables to Reduce Salt Intake.
Canned vegetables are extremely convenient and they have a long shelf life, but like processed and canned meats, they’re often high in sodium. Look for versions that use less salt in the first place, which can make a big difference. But something else to remember is that when you drain the liquid in the can, take the time to rinse the vegetables before heating them up. This removes residual sodium.
Cook with Low-Sodium Versions of Foods.
In addition to lower-sodium versions of canned vegetables, there are also low-sodium versions of broths and soups, too. Whenever possible try to go with those versions that are lower in sodium. You can always add a little more salt while cooking, but you can’t take salt out.
Opt for Unsalted Nuts for Snacks.
Nuts are an excellent choice for snacks for your senior, but if they’re salted, that can be a problem. Look for versions that are lower in salt or completely unsalted. One idea is to check the bulk foods area of your grocery store or even the produce area. Often this is where raw and unsalted nuts are sold.
Reduce the Need for Salt at the Table.
Lots of people are committed to salt because that’s what they’re used to in terms of flavors. But there are lots of other flavors out there. Experiment with herbs and spices, including things like vinegar, citrus juices, and other salt-free seasonings. When the food is flavorful in other ways, your elderly family member is going to be less likely to add salt at the table.
Learning to cook with less salt and learning to enjoy those meals can feel extremely complicated for your elderly family member. Elder care providers can help by taking over those cooking duties and giving her a chance to adjust and to enjoy her meals.