Beyond the Bird: Hosting Tips to Keep Sodium and Stress Low This Holiday Season

By Jessica Goldman Foung, aka Sodium Girl

bird's the wordA few days left until my favorite meal of the year: Thanksgiving! Flavorful food, family bonding, and hours spent feasting — it is the ultimate edible celebration. But if you’re hosting, it can also get pretty stressful. And that’s before you take a low-sodium diet and recipe adjustments into account. With the following game plan, though, you can make this year’s meal one of the best ever. With all the tradition and without all the sodium. All while having fun.

Ask for Help

Making a low-sodium Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean you need to cook the entire meal by yourself. Most food-loving family and friends will happily lend a hand. And when given the right information, they can make it low-sodium, too. This year, try going potluck style and offer to supply everyone with your favorite recipes. Or, if they have a favorite dish they want to salt-free, help by creating a list of your favorite low-sodium substitutions and products.

Make it Flexible

Chances are you aren’t the only one dining with dietary needs. So to keep everyone’s palate happy and plates full, make your feast flexible. Keep side dishes simple, like roasted squash, a big leafy green salad, and baked sweet potatoes (or this cauliflower mash for those watching potassium). Then offer different toppings, from shredded Parmesan to chopped nuts to creamy pesto. And let everyone dish up as they please. That way, you can cater to multiple needs without the extra work.

Get it Delivered

You will want to steer clear of prepared dishes, like salty mashed potatoes and stock-filled stuffing, as well as brine-pumped turkeys from the store (use this recipe instead). But you can still have convenience even when keeping to a low-sodium diet. Take some items off the to-do list by using shopping services (like Amazon Fresh, Google Express, and Instacart) to bring the groceries to your door. Or, order favorite low-sodium specialty goods and salt-free spices online ahead of time. That way, you’ll have everything you need without multiple trips to the market.

Break Tradition

A typical Thanksgiving meal requires tricky timing and a juggling act of recipes. But if you’re willing to have a dinner that looks a little different, you can keep the tastes you love while keeping things simple. Instead of a giant casserole or a big bowl of mashed potatoes, make mini versions in ramekins or muffin tins. They’ll not only cook faster, but you can also add different toppings according to different dietary needs. Which means winner winner, Thanksgiving dinner.

For more kidney-friendly Thanksgiving substitutes with Sodium Girl, watch her video.

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