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Holiday Meals with More Flavor, Less Sodium

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Mon Dec 9, 2013.

(Family Features) Everyone knows the holidays are a time of overindulgences, especially around the dinner table. The rich foods served at this special time of year are often filled with ingredients that aren’t the healthiest, especially those loaded with sodium.

There’s no doubt salt is an important flavor in food and how it makes recipes work.

While holiday dishes serve up their fair share of sodium, the issue of too much salt in the average diet is one that affects many. In fact, most people get their daily recommended intake of salt in one single meal. Though it may seem there is no way around enjoying holiday dishes without this common mealtime culprit, there are ways to savor the flavor of the season without the extra sodium.

Full flavor with less sodium

From the tender turkey to the savory stuffing, holiday meals can be prepared with special ingredients that offer the same beloved flavor without the added sodium. This year, incorporate a salt replacement, such as Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend, which offers 70 percent less sodium than regular salts and combines the all-natural properties of sea salt enriched with potassium.

When planning the menu for your family gathering, try these recipes for Simple Roasted Turkey, Slow Cooker Stuffing and Sweet Potato Bake. All of these traditional dishes feature Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend, making sodium reduction simple for your family’s favorite holiday fare. For more great recipes, visit www.saltforlife.com.

Risks associated with high sodium diets

As a concern that affects people young and old, health professionals continue to encourage the public to lower their sodium consumption. In fact, salt is linked to one in 10 deaths in the U.S. Here are a few of the implications involved in this serious health matter:

Hypertension

Salt overconsumption is one of the key factors of hypertension, which kills more than 34 million people globally per year. It accounts for more deaths than all cancers, diabetes and malaria combined.

Other major health risks

Beyond hypertension, the American Heart Association states that high sodium intake is to blame for an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, which can ultimately lead to a higher risk of premature death.

Risks for children

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children are becoming addicted to high-sodium diets at an early age. This causes them to avoid healthier food options later in life, increasing their risk for hypertension.

Stomach cancer

Reducing the consumption of high-sodium foods may reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.

Potassium deficiency

Fruits and vegetables have naturally high levels of potassium, an essential mineral for healthy diets. People whose diets consist of high levels of sodium and low levels of potassium have an increased risk for heart attack. Many health professionals believe a diet rich in potassium can balance out the damaging effects of sodium.

Slow Cooker Stuffing

Recipe: Slow Cooker Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 12 1/2 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4to 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Preparation:

  1. Melt butter or margarine in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, mushrooms and parsley in butter, stirring frequently.
  2. Spoon cooked vegetables over bread cubes in very large mixing bowl. Season with sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Pour in enough broth to moisten; mix in eggs. Transfer mixture to slow cooker and cover.
  3. Cook on high for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for 4 to 8 hours.

Yield 16 servings

Sweet Potato Bake

Recipe: Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2teaspoon Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange potatoes in 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over potatoes; toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil.
  3. Bake potatoes 50 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and syrup thickens slightly, basting occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Top potatoes with marshmallows and return to oven. Bake until marshmallows begin to melt, about 3 minutes.

Yield 8 to 10 servings

Simple Roasted Turkey

Recipe: Simple Roasted Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, giblets removed
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cold water

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Rinse turkey inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Place wings underneath body. If desired, tie drumsticks together using kitchen string.
  2. Place carrots, celery and onions in metal roasting pan. Transfer turkey to wire rack and place on top of vegetables. Drizzle skin with butter and, using fingers, spread it evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast turkey, uncovered, until browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Add 1 cup of cold water to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast until thermometer inserted in thigh registers 180°F, about 2 hours total.
  4. Let turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Yield 8 to 10 servings (plus leftovers)

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