Maureen Tilley Shakes things up with low-sodium cookbook

Seasoned dietician and general food enthusiast, Maureen Tilley, didn’t expect to be the author of her own series of cookbooks.

While working as a dietician for a grocery store in Nova Scotia, a publisher from Formac Publishing Company Ltd. approached Tilley to see if she would be interested in creating a low-sodium cookbook.

“Salt is a ‘hot topic’,” says Tilley. “And there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.”

Health Canada recommends eating no more than 1,500 mg of salt per day. This number is even less for children. Recommended salt consumption for children ages one to three is 1,000 mg and 1,200 mg for children between four and eight.

Tilley’s first cookbook, Hold the Salt, contains more than 50 ways to help eliminate salt from your diet. The recipes are modified versions of pre-existing recipes containing little to no sodium, and the rest are ones that Tilley created herself.

“People will say, I don’t add any salt out of a shaker, so I’m okay,” says Tilley. “But 77 percent of sodium is already in our food.”

The recipes are designed to be “quick and easy” to reduce the need to buy high-sodium pre-packaged foods.

Accessibility is something Tilley pays special attention to when creating her cookbooks. “I always make sure to use ingredients that people would have at home.” As Tilley proves, cooking low-sodium food to replace unhealthy supermarket choices doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming – “there are quick low-sodium recipes!”

Tilley’s second cookbook, Hold that Hidden Salt, features low-sodium alternative to common salt-heavy processed foods. In this book, Tilley enlisted the help of award-winning chef Craig Flinn to help create the salt-conscious recipes.

Some common salt traps come from prepared condiments, frozen pizza, fast food and canned soups, said Tilley. She offers healthier alternatives such as the black bean couscous salad, sweet potato and lentil burgers, and chocolate brownies; a few of Tilley’s personal favourites.

“Be careful of the hidden salt in sneaky foods,” is Tilley’s advice. “Keep it simple. Check your labels. Choose the better options.”

Tilley commends the work of websites such as Sodium 101 that are helping her in her fight to raise salt awareness by lowering sodium intake.

“I think it’s awesome,” says Tilley of Sodium 101. “It’s really bright. And it’s super easy to use.”

These two books are just the beginning for Tilley; she says there is a third cookbook in the works with Formac.

Keep an eye out on Sodium 101 for monthly for features of low-sodium recipes from Tilley’s two cookbooks, Hold the Salt and Hold that Hidden Salt.