Salt-Free Awareness Week: May 21 - 27, 2024

Rise to the Challenge!

The community of Ottawa and area residents, professional chefs, restaurants and catering services are challenged to participate and celebrate Salt-Free Awareness Week Ottawa!

This week of awareness is in support of chronic illnesses that require salt-free diets to maintain wellness. The chronic illnesses that require a very low sodium/salt restricted diet are kidney disease, heart disease and strokes, hypertension, and including diabetes. Unfortunately, the amount of salt we normally consume daily may lead us to one of several illnesses noted.  For more information on the amount of salt Canadians consume on a daily basis, check out this helpful fact sheet from the Government of Canada.

This year’s Salt-Free Awareness Week takes place May 21st to 27th, 2024!

How to Participate

  1. Create salt-free recipes in your home, or your restaurants and experience flavouring and eating by putting away the salt. Find different ways to flavour salt-free! Need help finding recipe ideas? Check out our Salt-Free Cookbook!
  2. Take a photo of your creative salt-free recipes or food choices and post on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram with the hashtag #saltfreechallenge.
  3. Challenge your family and friends, your co-workers or colleagues to join you on this challenge using social media during the week to participate in the salt-free challenge!
  4. Take the week to share or learn why too much salt is harmful for us. Get started with this helpful fact sheet from the Government of Canada.
  5. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments! This isn’t an easy challenge, but it is one that many Canadians face on a daily basis and we thank you for helping raise awareness!


Salt-Free Ideas

  • Attend a Salt-Free Cooking Class: Spend a day learning cooking techniques without using excessive salt that you can incorporate into your daily life!
  • Create a Salt-Free Shopping List: Research to find salt-free alternatives to your favourite seasonings and sauces, spend a day at the grocery store reading labels and becoming more aware of hidden salt contents!
  • Create a Salt-Free Menu: Challenge yourself to find the flavour and lose the salt! Take this challenge a step further by hosting a salt-free dinner party!

Read the 2024 Proclamation

Hiding In Plain Sight

High sodium foods can be found across restaurant chains in Canada, according to a recent University of Toronto study, … entree dishes at sit-down chain restaurants contained, on average, 1,462 milligrams of sodium.
– CBC News Marketplace

Join the Conversation

Show your support by challenging your friends and family to participate with the hashtag #saltfreecanada

“Salt-Free Canada is a long-time advocate for sodium reduction, and has helped inspire our own organization, as well as our members and their students across the country, to rethink their role in promoting healthy eating. This led to the creation of CICan’s Beyond Salt project, a pan-Canadian initiative, supported by the Government of Canada, aimed at reducing sodium in prepared and processed food and raising awareness of the health risks associated with the overconsumption of sodium in the Canadian diet.”

– Denise Amyot, President & CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)

Salt-free Awareness Week First Launched in 2017

In 2017 the Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson granted a proclamation to Salt-Free Canada initiated by Patricia Treusch, the founder and promoter, that every year in May during World Salt-free Awareness Week – the citizens of Ottawa are encouraged to eat salt-free. This is a fun, and healthy, challenge for all! Salt-free Canada encourages the citizens of Ottawa to draw upon their resourcefulness and creative competitive nature to try something new. Discover alternative ways to get rid of salt and make this a flavour-filled week!

The week provides an opportunity to disseminate information on wellness and healthier nutritional choices focusing on lessening our daily intake of salt – mostly used for flavour, and in the preservation of foods. It is hoped Ottawa area residents will challenge themselves and others around them. A diet with large amounts of salt can lead to serious health issues. Learning how to reduce salt intake is a crucial practice for wellness. Diseases such as kidney disease, heart disease and strokes, and hypertension all require salt-free diets.

The goal of the Salt-Free Awareness Week  is to create a challenge and have an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for;  salt-free options in restaurants and food processing; and to prepare the next generation of dieticians, nutritionists, and culinary students for a world with better health – without the pinch of salt.

Health Canada has reducing dietary sodium as one of its priorities to improve healthy eating and is working with the food industry to have less sodium chloride put into processed foods…Salt-Free Canada has worked with culinary schools across Canada to develop a curriculum for teaching how to cook with less sodium.

Dr. Norman Campbell
Member of the O’Brien Institute of Public Health and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta at the University of Calgary, and Vice-Chair of the Canadian Hypertension Advisory Committee

Salt-Free Canada and Colleges & Institutes Canada (CICan)

2017 – Salt-free Canada proposed to Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) to take the Salt-Free Cooking Challenge across Canada to all the colleges with culinary, nutrition and food processing arts. The purpose was to:
(1) create awareness with a challenge, and
(2) to collect sufficient data to support sodium reduction has an integral role in the curriculum, and
(3) have culinary arts and food processing colleges learn about serious health issues related to consumption of too much sodium, and to recognize the social responsibility of education for the future chefs/food processing students to be leaders in the reduction of sodium in food preparation.

Salt-Free Canada and CICan proposed to Health Canada for funding to prepare a Roundtable in Ottawa to introduce sodium reduction as a curriculum inclusion encouraged by the results from the pilot project to all invited colleges and ask for participation from colleges to become part of a method to reduce sodium in food processing; and collect data from the colleges to support the concept.

2019 – Health Canada approved funding for CICan to proceed with the environmental scan to collect sufficient data to be used to develop a basis to invite all colleges to participate in combining education into a new curriculum.

2020 – The curriculum that was produced by participating colleges was able to fully test the success and acceptance level for the material concerning sodium reduction in food processing.

New partnerships to reduce sodium use!

(From the CICan February 2020 Perspectives)

We have a new national working group for our Beyond Salt project that will create and test teaching material for college and institute faculty in an effort to create a labour force equipped with the knowledge and skills to reduce sodium levels in food:

  • On creating new teaching materials: Assiniboine Community College, George Brown College, Holland College, La Cité, North Island College, Nova Scotia Community College, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic; and,
  • On testing materials: George Brown College, La Cité, North Island College and Nova Scotia Community College.

The results and products of this two-year pan-Canadian initiative will be available to all CICan members, for incorporation in courses and programs related to food production and preparation.

Beyond Salt is a new project funded by Health Canada, to gather, develop, and share teaching materials related to sodium reduction with the goal of creating a healthier future for Canadians!

Did You Know?

A first-of-its-kind World Health Organization (WHO) Global report on sodium intake
reduction shows that the world is off-track to achieve its global target of reducing
sodium intake by 30% by 2025.