Ways to cut down on salt

Train your tastebuds

When you regularly eat salty foods, you can develop a taste for it. This is especially important for children, whose tastes are being trained for life.

The good news is you don’t have to cut out salt all at once. If you reduce gradually, your tastebuds will adjust in only a few weeks.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly you get used to the taste and notice all the other flavours that salt was hiding. You’ll find you don’t enjoy salty foods like you used to, and it’s a great chance to experiment with different flavours.

Foods with less than 120 mg sodium per 100 g are considered low in salt. Aim for foods with less than 400 mg per 100 g of product.

Check the food label

Check salt content on food labels. Use the nutrition panel on the back of the pack to find out how much salt is in a food product. Salt is listed as ‘sodium’. Use the ‘per 100 g’ column on the nutrition information panel to compare sodium of different brands of products.

  • Foods with less than 120 mg sodium per 100 g are considered low in salt.
  • Aim for foods with less than 400 mg per 100 g of product.

Look for foods labelled 'no added salt' or 'salt reduced', or foods with a higher Health Star Rating as these will be a healthier choice compared with similar foods. 

Reducing your salt intake can be as easy as switching brands. Look for foods labelled 'no added salt' or 'salt reduced'. Use the ‘per 100g’ column of the nutrition information panel to choose lower sodium products.

Read more about using food labels.

Switch brands

Reducing your salt intake can be as easy as switching brands. Look for foods labelled 'no added salt' or 'salt reduced'. Use the ‘per 100g’ column of the nutrition information panel to choose lower sodium products.

A favourite for many, baked beans can be a nutritious snack, depending on which variety you choose. Just one serve of baked beans on toast can contain up to 63% of an adult’s daily maximum recommended salt intake? But this doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite snack – simply choosing low salt or no added salt baked beans can reduce this to just 17%.

Stick to fresh foods where possible

Include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, plain meat, poultry and fish, plain unsalted nuts and legumes and lentils in your diet. Try adding healthier options to your lunch box such as boiled eggs and salad, raw vegetable sticks with a reduced salt dip and fresh fruit pieces.

Salty foods

High levels of salt are often added to foods such as packet soups and sauces, pies, sausage rolls, sausages, processed meat, pizzas and frozen meals. So reduce the amount of these foods you eat. Try to limit takeaway and fast foods such as burgers, fried chicken and pizza.

Limiting salty snacks like chips, pretzels, crackers and dips, will also help cut down salt. Make healthy snacks convenient by having fresh fruit pre-chopped, keeping reduced fat yoghurt in the fridge, and unsalted nuts in the pantry.

Also keep in mind that if you eat a few salty foods over your day, it’s easy to find yourself over the recommended intake. For example, salt is found in bread, cheese and processed meats, which means a regular ham and cheese sandwich can pack a sodium punch. Just one sandwich can contribute almost 40% of the upper limit of salt for the day for an adult, and a whopping 70% for a child.

Stock cubes, soy sauce, Asian-style sauces and condiments like tomato sauce and mayonnaise can all contribute to salt intake over the day. Choosing fresh foods, and lower salt versions of your favourite products all helps to lower the amount of salt you’re eating.

Common questions about salt.

You can easily get your daily requirements from the natural salts found in fresh foods. There is no need to add salt when cooking at home or at the dinner table. Rather than adding salt when you cook, use lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, or herbs and spices. Marinate fish and meat before cooking to give it more flavour.

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