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My Quest to Lower Sodium Without Sacrificing Flavor

Working with school districts to improve their lunch programs while reducing sodium and improving taste may seem like “Mission Impossible”. But there are important lessons to be learned that may assist other chefs looking to do the same thing with their own dishes.

I have introduced various USDA standard recipes, and by working with the schools’ Foodservice Directors, we have had great success thus far by substituting Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for standard iodized salt. Even though many of these Directors have never used kosher salt for the schools, after I bring a sample and show them the crystal-like flake, texture and let them taste the pure flavor themselves… they love it! It provides a much milder, melt-in-the-mouth feel and tastes so pure because it has no preservatives…it is fabulous!

Has switching from iodized salt to Diamond Crystal kosher salt made a difference? You bet it has! We have been able to reduce the sodium content of most recipes by at least 25%, and in some recipes up to 60% or more. For instance, our schools were getting many student complaints about the bland taste of a kid favorite – “Mac and Cheese”. We made three major changes to the recipe:

• Switched from a whole-grain pasta to a tricolored/whole-grain mix
• Made a sauce conversion by adding pureed cottage cheese with fresh herbs
• Replaced iodized salt with Diamond Crystal Kosher salt

This dropped the sodium levels tremendously per 4 oz serving! In addition, Diamond Crystal Kosher salt also has vitamin K, which protects against muscle degeneration – something very important for growing children who are developing their muscles. Best of all, the kids love it and are so happy to have one of their favorites back!

This is just one example of many where switching out iodized salt for Diamond Crystal Kosher salt has made a huge difference in improving taste while reducing sodium levels. One other added bonus is that by substituting Diamond Crystal salt and kicking up the recipes with fresh herbs, we have been able to reduce the fat content of the recipe as well.

This is indeed something to keep in mind as we all set out to create healthful, delicious dishes without sacrificing taste!

Bon Appetite!

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