A palace full of women, clunking of pots and pans, and delicious dishes cooked with less salt…that was the setting for my live cookery demo with top chef James Fisher at the WI Fair at Alexandra Palace on 1 April 2017.
Our fun interactive session at the Live Kitchen was an informal cooking demonstration and talk, with me interviewing James while he conjured up Aubergine and Tomato Gratin, and Salted Caramel Brownies made using LoSalt instead of regular salt.
The audience asked questions about “posh salt”, the recipes, and cookery tips, and we also discussed the importance of cutting down on sodium for maintenance of a healthy blood pressure level.
New research from LoSalt, conducted in February 2017, shows that salt has slipped down to number 3 in the list of the nation’s food concerns, with sugar taking the top spot, followed by saturated fat. 86% also don’t know that 6g (a teaspoon) is the recommended maximum daily amount for salt and more than half the population are not concerned about how much salt they eat. However, in the UK we are consuming too much salt, with people eating 8.2g compared to the Maximum Daily Allowance of 6g.
— Ceres PR (@CeresPR) April 1, 2017
My Ten Tops Tips
- When cooking at home, try to use herbs and spices for seasoning rather than salt. Where you feel that only salt will do, try a reduced sodium option like LoSalt, which tastes just like salt but delivers two thirds less sodium than regular salt.
- Ask for healthy options if you’re in a restaurant or a takeaway outlet: ask if they have any dishes that are lower in salt or if they can add less salt to your food in cooking or even if they offer a reduced sodium salt. Use your power as a consumer to help drive change. These establishments want your business so if you want something, let them know!
- Sea salt and rock salt may be favourites with chefs, but remember they have the same amount of sodium as table salt! Ideally we should eliminate using salt altogether, or gradually use less. Where you feel you can’t go without it, it’s better to go with a reduced sodium option.
- Taste food before you season! You’ll be surprised at how many people will just add salt to food before they have even tried it. Adding salt is a very habitual practice but it’s possible to try and break that habit slowly so you change your behaviour and benefit your long-term health.
- Bread contributes a lot of salt to our diet but that is largely because we tend to eat quite a lot of it. It’s an important part of a healthy balanced diet but try not to have it at every meal-time. A varied diet is the best way to get a range of nutrients.
- Try a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar instead of salt; it’s a great healthy way to add zest and flavour to dishes.
- Reading labels can take time, so make it easy for yourself by looking at the traffic lights on packaged foods: choose those brands which are lower in salt. And just like when you’re driving, try to avoid those red lights!
- Stock up on a variety of herbs and spices as they are great flavour enhancers and can help replace some of the salt in cooking. Try dill with fish, rosemary with meat dishes and oregano or basil on pasta.
- Remember that ready-made sauces and stock cubes can be high in salt so choose products containing less salt and use them in moderation.
- Buy canned foods in water rather than in brine as brine contains salt.
Now to tuck into my char-grilled prawns…
Thank you to LoSalt for asking me to appear at the Live Kitchen and for their support. This is an honest blogpost and has not been influenced by LoSalt.