The “Salt Calculator” Has Arrived!

The “Salt Calculator” Has Arrived!

Now Americans can take that extra step at reducing their sodium intake when eating out or cooking at home. A new online “salt calculator” jointly developed by a Toronto dietitian aims to encourage Canadians to curb the unhealthy quantities of sodium gulped down daily. So, why not Americans too, right?

The results can be staggering, said a University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow who developed the calculator with researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

“Many people are surprised about how high their sodium intake is,” she said, adding that more than three-quarters of consumed sodium is “hidden” in processed foods and prepared meals.

“It was really to engage people about the amount of sodium in their diet,” “It’s really making high sodium intake personal.”

On average, Canadians consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, more than double Health Canada’s recommended “adequate intake” level. This can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke, heart problems, kidney disease and other health problems like osteoporosis and stomach cancer, according to Health Canada.

There are hopes this calculator can act as a wake-up call to many who are unaware they are consuming risky levels sodium, and serve as a tool for doctors to bring up the issue with their patients. It also breaks down the sources of one’s salt consumption, suggesting what changes will help bring it down.

“People cannot make effective dietary changes unless they are aware that they personally are consuming high amounts of sodium,” she said. “Through the calculator, we do hope to show people that.”

Salt Calculator article

Salt Calculator

The calculator asks questions regarding the user, like age and gender. Then dives right into everyone’s “hidden secrets” and asks questions regarding eating out:

  • Lunch/dinner from quick-service or fast-food restaurants (eat-in or take-out)
  • Lunch/dinner from table-service restaurants (eat-in or take-out)
  • Breakfast from quick-service or fast-food restaurants (eat-in or take-out
  • Breakfast from table-service restaurants (eat-in or take-out)

Other areas of interest that the calculator takes into consideration are:

How often you eat these foods prepared or eaten at home

  • Bread products
  • Baked goods
  • Breakfast cereal and hot instant cereal

Processed meats, fish, and poultry

  • Processed meat products
  • Frozen or pre-seasoned meat, poultry, and fish
  • Canned tuna and salmon & smoked fish

Cheese & Dairy

  • Cheese eaten alone or with other food
  • Milk as a hot or cold drink & milk in cereal

Canned vegetables

  • Canned vegetables, legumes, pickles & olives

Added salt

  • Add a dash or shake of salt to food

Spreads, Condiments, Dips Sauces

  • Condiments & dips
  • Prepared sauces & marinades

Prepared Meals, Sides & Soups

  • Pasta and rice dishes with sauce/seasonings, and packaged mashed/scalloped potatoes and stuffing dishes
  • Frozen appetizers & side dishes
  • Frozen entrees & meals
  • Canned chili, stew & pasta or baked beans with sauce
  • Pizza or pizza snacks
  • Soup, broth, oriental noodles & bouillon

Salty Snacks

  • Salty snack foods i.e., potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, other nuts.

salt calc

Camouflage Seasoned Venison

Camouflage Seasoned Venison

With hunting season right around the corner, you just might find a little venison, also known as deer meat, finding its way on to your dinner plate. Venison is lean and great source of protein!

Did you know that in a 4-ounce serving of venison there is only 179 calories and is a great source of B vitamins and iron…

How you should choose venison? Well, it’s available fresh or frozen. But, for the most flavor, look for dark, fine-grain flesh and always check the sell-by date.

How to store your venison? Venison will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It can also be frozen for use within 3-6 months.

How to use your deer meat? Venison jerky is easy to make and delicious. You can also try substituting venison for ground beef in recipes like lasagna and chili.

Venison Lasagna

Here are some venison recipes from my hometown, Harrisburg, PA newspaper The Patriot News…

Venison Lebanon Bologna


  • 4 pounds venison burger
  • dash of hot pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Morton’s Tender Quick
  • 2 Tablespoons Wright’s Liquid Smoke

Mix ingredients. Roll out into sticks about 11/4 inches in diameter. Wrap sticks in wax paper and placed in refrigerator overnight. Bake in a broiler pan at 225 degrees for 11/2 hours. Turn. Bake for another 11/2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Deer Sausage


  • 1 pound fine ground pork butt
  • 1 pound fine ground bacon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Stuff into white, plastic hamburger bags. Fry or bake as loose, crumbled sausage.

Deer Sausage made with bacon


  • 3-½ lb. finely ground venison
  • 1-½ lb. finely ground bacon
  • 4 cloves pressed garlic
  • 2 tsp. sage/p 3 tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Stuff into white, plastic hamburger bags. Fry or bake as loose, crumbled sausage.

Barbecue Venison


  • 3 pounds venison, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoon steak sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients, except venison. Remove one-quarter of the combination and retain separately as finishing sauce. Stir venison cubes into remaining marinade. Pour everything, except the finishing sauce, into a freezer bag. Store both in refrigerator overnight. Place venison cubes into baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Pour finishing sauce over venison cubes. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Hawaiian Venison


  • 1 pound boneless elk or deer round steak
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 green peppers
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks

Serving sauce

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

How to prepare

  • Cut steak in 1 inch cubes and dredge with flour. Brown meat cubes on all sides in hot oil.
  • Place in Crock Pot add water and salt. Place on high one hour, low for approximately 6 hours.
  • Add green peppers and pineapple chunks to meat. Cook one hour longer.
  • On stove top prepare serving sauce: Combine all ingredients and cook until sauce is clear and thick.
  • Pour over meat mixture and heat until ready to serve. Serve over Chinese noodles or cooked rice.

And to top off all the recipe talk, here are some tips on making your venison extra delicious…

  1. Take a clean shot. A hunter’s duty is to ensure the animal’s death is as quick as possible. A clean, ethical shot will prevent the animal from running too far and ruining the flavor of the meat.
  2. Dress it fast.  “Heat will ruin meat faster than anything,”. It’s important that the deer is frozen as soon as possible.
  3. Clean it well. No one wants hair in the meat. I recommend giving the meat a thorough washing to get all the hair out.
  4. Trim the fat. The not-so-great gamey taste comes from the fat. Trim it off and avoid that unappetizing flavor. Supplement the fat by adding butter or cooking oil.
  5. Lower the temperature, extend the cook time. Venison have a lower fat content, therefore need to be cooked at lower temperatures for longer periods of time to get the optimum flavor. I’m a fan of using deer meat for soups, Crock Pot recipes and roasts.
  6. Baste continually. Venison has a tendency to become dry and hard if overcooked, Wolfe says. He recommends basting the meat and cooking it with red wine and vinegar to keep it moist
  7. Use more meat than normal.When substituting venison for beef in a recipe, more venison than listed is required. A beef steak is typically a half inch. A venison steak should be between 1 inch and 1 3/4 inches to get the same taste.

    Where our cuts of venison come from