Tips to Reduce Your Sodium Intake: Plus a Grilled Shrimp Recipe

July 17, 2019

Low Sodium Recipe for Grilled Shrimp

"News Flash: Poor Diet Responsible for More Deaths Than Smoking"

Now that is scary! 

Download printable recipe and blog here.

Okay guys, it is time to think about making some changes in our eating habits, especially if the science is telling us that diet is responsible for more deaths than smoking! A study published in The Lancet, April 3, 2019, showed more than 11 million deaths were linked to dietary risks.  These factors included low intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, nuts, seeds or legumes… in other words, the things we are asked to eat following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating pattern. Seems like more than half of the diet-related deaths were related to sodium intake. It's time we all started looking at the labels to make sure we are choosing foods low in sodium. 

Try these options to decrease salt and still have tasty foods:

  • Fresh cuts of meats.  Fresh cuts have a little natural sodium, but it's not as troublesome as the hidden sodium added to processed products like bacon, sausage, and ham. If the product can stay in the refrigerator for days or weeks, the sodium content is probably too high.
  • "Naked" fruits and vegetables.  Fresh or frozen is fine. Just avoid the options with sauces and creams.
  • Compare brands. Different companies use different amounts of sodium. Choose the option with the least.
  • Salt-free seasonings. Choose spices and spice mixes that don’t have sodium listed on the label, like onion powder or garlic powder.

Here is a simple rule of thumb: If salt is listed in the first five ingredients, the item is probably too high in sodium to use.

Salt is an acquired taste, and it will take a few weeks to make the adjustment to a new, lower sodium intake. Be patient and your taste buds will adjust. Soon you'll not only be just as satisfied with the healthier options... you'll actually prefer them! Start with this low sodium recipe from the American Heart Association's Low Salt cookbook.

Grilled Shrimp on Lemongrass Skewers


  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass
  • ½ c mirin or sweet wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp crushed dried pepper flakes
  • 1 pound raw medium shrimp with shells
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaf of each


  1. Cut 1 stalk of lemongrass to separate the tender bottom part from the rest.  Peel to the inside layers of the tender part, and discard the outer layers and the tough part of the stalk.  Thinly slice the inner layers. Put the sliced lemongrass and the remaining marinade ingredients in a large airtight plastic bag.
  2. Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact.  Rinse and drain.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Add the shrimp to the marinade.  Seal the bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 1 to 12 hours, tuning the bag occasionally.
  3. Peel the remaining 4 lemongrass stalks to the size of heavy duty bamboo skewers. Tread the shrimp on each lemongrass stalk, with the tails facing in the same direction. 
  4. Grill the skewers for 5 minutes on each side.  Don’t overcook the shrimp or they will be tough. 

Nutrition Information: 80 calories, 1 gm fat, 147 mg cholesterol, 1 gm carbohydrate, 17 gm protein, 364 mg sodium


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – A Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.