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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Are You Salt Savvy?

Pesto Chicken Pizza
Pesto Chicken Pizza - Contributed

By Teresa Flynn, Sobeys Dietitian

June is Stroke Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to think about making heart healthy lifestyle changes. We know that too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure. Do you know where the sodium in your diet is coming from?

  • Most sodium in the diet comes from restaurant meals, packaged and processed foods.
  • Sodium is also added in cooking or at the table from the salt shaker and condiments such as ketchup, soy sauce or pickles.

Salt Savings

  • Taste your food before adding salt or condiments. Be aware that sodium-reduced condiments may still contain a lot of sodium.
  • Look for no salt added canned vegetables and fish. Try Compliments Balance No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes, Salt Free Peas or Salt Free Cut Green Beans. Look for sodium reduced canned salmon and tuna.
  • Choose fresh meats instead of processed meats (bacon, ham) more often.
  • Buy lower sodium cheese, such as Swiss or bocconcini.
  • Look for broths and bouillon cubes that have no salt added.
  • Check the spice aisle for no salt added versions of your favourite seasoning blends.
  • Cook with herbs and spices.
  • Cook meals at home more often and be mindful with the amount of salt you use.
  • Look for low sodium options - Compliments Balance Products are a great place to start.

Using Nutrition Labels

Use food labels to compare and choose lower sodium products.

  • Choose products with a low percent Daily Value (% DV) for sodium. A % DV of 5% or less means there is a little. A % DV of 15% or more means there is a lot.
  • Aim for 2000 mg and below per day for prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.

Did You Know?

One teaspoon of salt has 2300 mg of sodium. It adds up quickly!

Add Flavour, Not Salt

Salt enhances the natural flavours in food. Give your food a specific flavor and cook with herbs and spices instead. This will help to reduce the amount of sodium in your food. When using herbs and spices for the first time, start with small amounts and only try one at a time. You will soon discover which flavours you love the most.

Dried herbs are three times as strong as fresh herbs (for example, one teaspoon of dried thyme equals one tablespoon of fresh thyme). Add dried herbs at the beginning of cooking to get the most flavour. Add fresh herbs near the end of cooking. Find a variety of fresh Compliments herbs in the produce department of your local Sobeys store.

It takes time to develop new eating and cooking habits, but it’s worth it. Your heart will thank you!

Hungry for more? Like @SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips and recipes or receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox. Register at

Nutrition Events

You can find Teresa’s July nutrition event schedule online or instore at the Pharmacy or Customer Service. Contact Teresa to register for a nutrition class: Voicemail: 902-755-3645,


Teresa Flynn is Sobeys Dietitian in New Glasgow. She offers many services at the Westside and Aberdeen Sobeys stores including one-on-one counselling, workplace wellness events and a variety of in-store nutrition classes.

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Serves 6


2 cups 500 ml Whole wheat flour, divided

2 tsp 10 ml Pizza crust yeast

1½ tsp 7 ml Sugar

1 tbsp 15 ml Oregano, dried

⅔ cup 150 ml Water, warm

3 tbsp 45 ml Olive oil

⅓ cup 75 ml Pesto sauce

½ lb 227 g Chicken, skinless, cooked, bite size pieces

½ cup 125 ml Red pepper, sliced

¼ cup 60 ml Red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup 125 ml Feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup 125 ml Tomato, diced

½ cup 125 ml Mozzarella cheese, lower fat, shredded


1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Grease a 12 inch pizza pan and set aside.

2. Mix 1 cup of flour, yeast, sugar and oregano in a large bowl. Add water and oil and

mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

3. Add remaining cup of flour. Knead for a minute. Roll dough on a floured surface to

make a 12 inch circle. Place crust on pan.

4. Spread pesto on crust. Add toppings and bake for 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories 405

Fat 19 grams

Carbohydrate 35 grams

Fibre 5 grams

Protein 18 grams

Sodium 332 milligrams

Tip: Use a different cheese to change the flavour.

Source: Sobeys Dietitians

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