Well, it’s a theory anyway…
I was thrown into the world of low sodium cooking when my elderly Mom’s doctor strongly suggested we cut her sodium. She was on a diet of 1800 mg a day in sodium which is still above the USDA recommended limit of 1500 (for those over 51, those of African descent, or those with kidney or heart problems),
But, I was dating a younger man whose idea of a low salt dinner was to forgo the extra salt on his large fries at McDonald’s. How was I supposed to keep both of them happy?
Preparing To Cook A Low-Sodium Diet
The first thing I did was try to arm myself with information. Although the internet is full of low sodium recipes, I like to actually sit and peruse an actual cookbook. So, I hit the library.
My first choice in low sodium cookbooks were those created by the most well-known organizations, such as the American Heart Association, or the DASH Diet.
A Low Sodium Fried Chicken Recipe You Make In The Oven
I found a similar recipe in one of the low sodium cookbooks from the library, but the recipe was just a bit bland. The below contain my additions which make this dish spicier (I didn’t add the jalepenos to Mom’s pieces) and more delicious.
The cook time for this recipe is right around an hour in a 400 F oven. Check the chicken at 50 minutes just to make sure.
- 1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt – greek yogurt works very well
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs or corn flakes (Mom preferred corn flakes in this recipe)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
- 3 T chopped sage
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 T fresh chopped basil
- 1 T fresh chopped oregano
- 2 T grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 3 lbs skinless chicken pieces
- Optional: 1 chopped jalapeno
Note: I prefer to use fresh herbs but, if you are using dried herbs, reduce the amount accordingly. For example, 1 tsp of dried herbs is equivalent to 1 tbsp of fresh herbs.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and spray with olive oil PAM (this makes for very easy cleanup).
- Mix the bread crumbs and all seasonings in a bowl. Place yogurt in another bowl.
- Coat chicken pieces in yogurt and then dip in bread crumb mixture. Place on jelly roll pan. Note: for spicier pieces, add chopped jalapeno pieces on top.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes. The internal temperature should be 165F. Note, you might want to take out the wings and thighs before the breasts as the breasts will take longer to cook.
- Serve atop a bed of arugula or rice. The yogurt makes this oven fried chicken extremely delicious and juicy.For lower carb diets, you can use almond flour for the coating and place on a bed of zucchini noodles.
Conduction Cooking Means Less Chance Of Burns
A friend introduced me to a portable conduction cooktop. A conduction cooktop is perfect for the elderly as the surface remains cool – there will be no burns from accidentally putting a hand or an arm on a hot surface.
Now, that said, the pans used, of course, get hot so care must still be taken.
Duxtop LCD 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 9600LSNuWave PIC Flex Precision Induction Cooktop with Fry Pan – Black – 9Gourmia GIC200 Multifunction Digital Portable 1800 Watt Induction Cooker Cooktop Countertop Burner with SmartSense Auto Detection, Timer, Temperature and 8 Power Level Controls – 110V
Low-Sodium Diets Need Lots Of Fresh Herbs
One thing I learned about cooking my elderly mom’s almost salt-free diet was that the addition of fresh herbs to any dish was a good thing. And, the fresher, the better. That’s why I decided to grow my own seasonings.
Growing your own herbs is only fun to do (your elderly loved one will enjoy watching the quick growth) but you’re also 100% certain of where those herbs came from.
You can grow all kinds of things in these AeroGro gardens. I’ve even started seeds in early spring for the garden!
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra (LED) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod KitMiracle-Gro AeroGarden Classic 6 with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod KitMiracle-Gro AeroGarden Harvest (LCD Control Panel) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, BlackMiracle-Gro AeroGarden Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit (7-Pod)Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Red Heirloom Cherry Tomato Seed Pod Kit (7-Pod)Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Salad Greens Mix Seed Pod Kit (7-Pod)
Low Sodium Seasonings We Loved
Our favorite low sodium seasoning was one that Mom actually turned me onto, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. With no sodium at all, this particular low-sodium solution is great on everything including salads and cottage cheese. You won’t go wrong with this purchase.
Another favorite that I use to this day is Kirkland’s Signature USDA Organic No-Salt Seasoning. This was one of my go-to no-salt seasonings for chicken soup. It really gave the soup a great flavor.
We owned each and every one of the below low sodium seasonings. When you’re cooking without salt, you really need to add plenty of seasonings. Make sure to read the labels – any seasonings that are blended usually have some salt added.
Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (Pack of 3)Bragg Sprinkle Herb and Spice Seasoning, 1.5 ozKirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning-14.5 ozOld Bay Seasoning, 30% Less Sodium, 2.62-Ounce Canisters (Pack of 12)Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy(2.5oz), Southwest Chipotle(2.5oz), Garlic & Herb (2.5oz) and Fiesta Lime (2.4oz) Salt-Free Seasoning (Bundle)Mrs. Dash Combo All Natural Seasoning Blends 2.5 oz; Original,Onion&Herb,Garlic&HerbMrs. Dash Seasoning Blends Variety Flavor 4 Pack 2.5 oz – Onion & Herb – Table Blend – Tomato Basil Garlic – Original Blend Set BundleMrs. Dash Seasoning Blends Variety Flavor 4 Pack, Italian Medley 2.0oz, Garlic & Herb 2.5oz, Chicken Grilling 2.4oz Lemon Pepper 2.5 ozMcCormick Taco Seasoning, 30% Less Sodium, 1.25 oz
Dried Spices You Should Have On Hand
Variety is said to be the spice of life (sorry, I just had to work that in) so having dried spices on hand is always a great idea. Also, cooking a low-sodium diet can be boring – having many spices on hand to mix can give you an infinite amount of taste choices.
Here’s some of the basic spices I always have on hand. Mom is no longer with us so I don’t heed to low-sodium cooking any longer but I sure do still rely on the spices to ‘spice things up’ (OK, I’ll run along now….)
Simply Organic Oregano Leaf Cut & Sifted Certified Organic, .75-Ounce ContainerLitehouse Instantly Fresh Freeze Dried Garlic (1.58 oz bottle)McCormick Freeze Dried Chives (1.35 oz)Litehouse Freeze Dried Cilantro (10 gms,) 0.35 oz.Simply Organic Dill Weed Cut & Sifted Certified Organic, 0.81-Ounce ContainerHarmony House Foods, Dried Jalapeno, Diced, 6 Ounce Quart Size Jar