Sodium Reduction in Distributive Meals Through Speed–Scratch Cooking
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Sodium Reduction in Distributive Meals Through Speed–Scratch Cooking

Filetype[PDF-470.76 KB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:
      Purpose and Objectives

      Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sodium Reduction in Communities Program, the Marion County Public Health Department and partners implemented sodium reduction strategies in distributive meal programs (ie, low- or no-cost meals available to under-resourced populations) to meet the long-term goal of reducing the burden of sodium-related chronic disease among adults aged 60 or older. The purpose of our study was to evaluate results from the first 2 years of the program, which modified recipes to reduce overall sodium levels through speed–scratch cooking (combining prepared food products with those made from scratch).

      Intervention Approach

      We modified recipes to reduce sodium content in 2 potato products served frequently as side dishes in distributive programs for older adults for congregate meals — those provided to groups in a community setting — and home-delivered meals.

      Evaluation Methods

      We compared average sodium content of a 3-month menu cycle between 2 program years, the costs and consumer acceptance of recipe modifications, and consumer perceptions of product changes. Primary data included a nutrient analysis and key informant interviews.


      Approximately 2,000 distributive meal clients of CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions were served reduced-sodium potato dishes over the 2 years of the intervention. From year 1 to year 2, the sodium content of scalloped potatoes was reduced by 65%, and the sodium content of mashed potatoes was reduced by 87%. Client acceptance of the modified recipes met the target threshold of a mean Likert-scale score of 3.75 out of 5.0, and the combined cost savings for both potato dishes was 45 cents per serving. Key informants noted the themes of economics of cost and labor, knowledge of how to identify reduced sodium options, and quality of the replacement food as essential factors for recipe modification.

      Implications for Public Health

      Using speed–scratch recipe modification for 2 potato dishes significantly reduced the sodium content of distributive meals for older adults. Speed–scratch recipe modification can be used as a tool to improve the nutritional value of meals and reduce the chronic disease burden of high-risk populations.

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