FSSAI recently organised the National Low Salt Cooking Challenge (NLSCC) in alignment with this year’s theme ‘More Flavour, Less Salt’ announced by WASHH (World Action on Salt, Sugar and Health), during the World Salt Awareness Week, which was held between March 8 to 14, 2021.
Salt is an essential ingredient for both food and health. However, excess consumption of salt leads to increased chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. The World Health Organization recommends < 5 grams of salt intake in a day. FSSAI, therefore, organised the challenge as a step that would encourage low salt eating practice among citizens.
NLSCC was organised under the ambit of FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right India’ movement and this challenge was one of a kind virtual cooking competition, that would increase awareness among people on the importance of and ways to cook everyday foods using less amount of salt. In other words, the online challenge was held with the view to engage and sensitize citizens to rreduce the amount of salt they consume in home cooked foods.
NLSCC received entries from various teams consisting of the nutrition and culinary skills community. More than 200 participants from various regions competed in teams made up of two or four participants. Amongst eligible teams, 16 teams prepared recipes from Northern India; 15 from Southern India; 14 from Western India; 6 from Central India; 5 from North Eastern and 4 from Eastern Region States. The teams presented regional meals that were nutritious and which also used less amount of salt, without compromising on the taste and flavour of the food preparations.
The winning team “Na-Namak” presented a Maharashtrian Thali followed by a Thali from Vidharbha Region. The first runner up presented a Punjabi Thali “Varhadi Tadka” and second runner-up “NIPS Team 3”. The teams used different approaches to reduce the amount of salt in the preparation of recipes.
- One common method used by all the participants involved combining unsalted food with salted foods, resulting in salt reduction in the overall meals.
- Other approaches included usage of herbs and spices such as onion powder, garlic powder, lemon, celery seeds, tamarind powder, ginger powder, raw mango, etc. that increased the flavour of foods with lower amount of salt.
Salt reduction is a conditioning and training of the tongue which can be achieved successfully by creativity and innovation in using our heritage of Indian herbs, condiments and spices in food preparations.
CEO FSSAI, Shri Arun Singhal congratulated all the participants and highlighted that though it is just a competition to reduce amount of salt in daily meals, yet everyone aspires to win the competition. However, the objective of the challenge is not just winning the prize, but imbibing the thought of salt reduction in our day to day eating practices. While everyone should think of reducing the amount of salt gradually, it is equally important to increase awareness among families, friends and relatives”.
Dr Jagmeet Madan, Member, NeTProFaN and National President, Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) on the other hand suggested that “let’s experiment through this low salt cooking challenge to get closer to natural flavours of the food and get a bonus of keeping hypertension and heart disease away.”
As the National Low Salt Cooking Challenge is an initiative under the Eat Right India movement you can learn more about it by visiting https://eatrightindia.gov.in/hfss/nlscc/ The website contains useful resources and practical guide on simple ways for salt reduction in our diets.
Source : FSSAI