Learn how to reduce salt intake with these healthy cooking tips

We eat these sauces every day but how much do we know about their nutrition content? Let's learn more about common condiments like soy sauce and sambal!

Healthy Cooking with Fish Sauce

This high-in-sodium sauce adds that salty oomph to Thai food and Vietnamese spring rolls. Cut back on this sauce if you've got high blood pressure or hypertension. So, how to reduce your salt intake? For a slightly lower-in-sodium dipping sauce, try light soy sauce with chopped chili padi and a squeeze of lime.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Ingredients: Anchovy, salt, sugar
Sodium: 1,012 mg (50% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 17 kcal (4 minutes of jumping jacks)

Healthy Alternatives to Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce, used to stir-fry veggies like kai lan and bok choy, is high in sodium. Use this sauce sparingly if you're watching your sodium intake or actively cutting back on the amount of sodium consumed at every meal - stir-fry your greens with spices like ginger, garlic, and peppercorns instead!

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Ingredients: Oyster extract, corn starch, sugar, salt
Sodium: 580 mg (25% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 10 kcal (2.5 minutes of jumping jacks)

Less Salt with Sambal Belacan

This spicy, shrimpy sauce is high in sodium and calories, so eat less if you have high blood pressure or are watching your calories. When frying sambal belacan at home, taste before adding salt - belacan (shrimp paste) is already salty.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Ingredients: Ground chilli, roasted belacan (shrimp paste), salt, sugar
Sodium: 690 mg (50% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 44 kcal (10 minutes of jumping jacks)

Lower Sodium Light Soy Sauce

Savour soy sauce is light in calories but high in sodium. Remember to taste your food before seasoning: ask yourself if you really need extra soy sauce in your dry mee pok. Also, check out lower-sodium alternatives.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Ingredients: Soybean, wheat, salt
Sodium: 860 mg (40% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 8.5 kcal (2 minutes of jumping jacks)

Added Sugar in Kecap Manis

This caramelly sauce is used in Indonesian dishes like mee goreng and nasi goreng. Its aromatic sweetness - and empty calories (calories without nutrients) - comes from palm sugar. Eat less kecap manis if you're watching your sugar intake.

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Ingredients: Palm sugar, salt, soybean
Sodium: 227 mg (11% of daily recommended intake)
Sugar: 7.6 g (16% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 37 kcal (8.5 minutes of jumping jacks)

Substitute Garlic Chilli Sauce with Spices

This sauce isn't especially high in calories, salt, or sugar, but the numbers do add up, so eat moderately if you're watching your calorie and sodium intake! Perhaps cut down from two packets of sauce to one when you're eating fries or chicken wings. Here’s a healthy cooking tip: Try substituting with spices like paprika (6 kcal/teaspoon) and garlic powder (10 kcal/teaspoon).

Serving Size: 1 packet (about 1/2 tablespoon)
Ingredients: Chilli, sugar, garlic, thickener, salt
Sodium: 100 mg (5% of daily recommended intake)
Sugar: 2.7 g (6% of daily recommended intake)
Calories: 10 kcal (2.5 minutes of jumping jacks)

Healthy Cooking Tips for You and Me

Eating too much sodium could raise blood pressure, so use low sodium sauces and ensure that you keep to a limit of 2000 mg of sodium daily.

Sugar isn't so sweet for health either! Added sugar has little nutrition, and eating excess sugar increases risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Stick to a 45 to 55 g daily sugar intake limit.

Switch up your sauces as recommended in the infographic above to enjoy a healthier and equally delicious meal! Learn more about the nutritional content of your favourite foods.


Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


Read these next: