Digital Original: UAMS teaches cooks to use less salt

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – “Pass the salt.”

Well, the next time you’re getting a bite to eat at the cafeteria located inside the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), you may not be eating as much salt as you think. 

UAMS is teaching their cooks how to prepare healthier and better-tasting meals without all the sodium.

The new initiative is designed to reduce high levels of salt in meals for both patients and visitors at the hospital cafeteria. 

However, the hospital hopes to prove that less salt doesn’t mean less taste in their food. 

“One of the things we want to focus on with our cooking is to make sure our food is flavorful so that people will eat it but also be healthy,” says Tonya Johnson,  Nutrition and Food Services Director at UAMS. 

On average, about 90% of Americans consume too much sodium, increasing their risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The hospital feeds about 10,000 people a day and hopes the switch will have a positive impact on the customer’s health and taste buds. 

“People consume so much sodium that it can cause problems with hypertension, fluid retention, heart disease,” explains Johnson. “So, we really want to try and limit the amount of sodium that you consume to less than two-thousand milligrams a day.”

The hospital uses Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and Mrs. Dash seasoning. The seasoning is a salt-free alternative for adding flavors to meals.

Additionally, the hospital recommends for those people that just can’t live without their sodium to apply salt to their food after it’s been cooked so the flavor stays near the top and is not penetrated within the food.

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