Happy Holiday Eating, Low-Sodium Style

low sodium holiday eating

Photo by: Craig Dugas

Since it is the first of November,the holidays are rapidly approaching.  Holiday eating is often cause for anxiety when you are on a restricted diet, so now is the time to do a bit of preparation for how to successfully navigate the holiday meals.

Most of you know that I am one to encourage the enjoyment of food even while being conscious of the impact of each food on our health, both short term and long term. So, first let me say that the holidays are to be celebrated and food is a major part of those celebrations. The key is to learn how to celebrate in a mindful way so that the success that has been built earlier in the year continues.  We will start here with Thanksgiving today and next time, I will specifically speak to holiday baking.

It All Starts with the Turkey

As for Thanksgiving, with proper planning, the traditional menu with roast turkey and all the fixings is actually quite healthy. Let’s start with the turkey which should be purchased fresh, when possible, to reduce the level of sodium. One of my favorite brands is Jenni-O All Natural Fresh Turkey which has less than 200 mg sodium per serving. Other brands may be available in your grocery store. Be sure to read the label and look for sodium levels under 200 mg per serving. For a terrific recipe for your holiday turkey, just check this one out.

Managing Sodium in Stuffing and Gravy

Now for the dressing or stuffing – the prepared convenience products are all too high in sodium for anyone to eat so this requires some baking or at least some preparation. Stuffing can be made by tearing low sodium bread into cubes after leaving it out to dry and adding other ingredients such as onion, celery, sage, black pepper, unsalted butter etc. This combination will create a  dressing that is low in sodium and tastes great too! If having gravy on your turkey and dressing is your thing, that too can made low sodium by purchasing the Herb-OX salt free granules and using the granules as a base for gravy and adding corn starch to thicken; just a tsp of pepper and sage and the gravy is complete.

Picking the Perfect Sides

Side dishes of vegetables are easily prepared from fresh vegetables in the produce section or fresh frozen without salt. Don’t forget, since fresh cranberries are in the produce section this time of year, a great cranberry relish that is low in sodium and sugar makes a wonderful side. Here is a fantastic low-sugar cranberry relish recipe.

Don’t Forget the Dessert!

For the finale – step back in time to the days of your childhood with a traditional pumpkin pie or similar holiday dessert.  As I often tell my clients, all foods can fit, in some quantity and frequency.  What better time to apply this principal than at Thanksgiving dessert? A small sliver of pumpkin pie will most certainly end the meal in celebration without ending a successful year of eating.

We would love to hear your ideas for getting the most out of your favorite Holiday foods while keeping sodium under control. Leave us a comment!  Be sure to check back soon as we will tackle the Christmas baking next – and especially how you can still bake your favorite treats and stay low-sodium by using Ener-G Sodium Free Baking Soda.

Happy Thanksgiving To You and Your Family!!

Author: Carla Spencer

Carla Spencer is a Registered Dietitian and founder of 2 Your Health. Her extensive career working with individuals with health challenges led her to create this site dedicated to helping people enjoy their lives while working to prevent or minimize the impact of kidney disease.

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  1. Sometime on the holiday your food chart become unbalanced, but with your described way i can keep my food chart healthy along lots nutrient and minerals.

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    • Thank you for your positive comment: we strive to provide great tips for successful eating.

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