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Cole Slaw Recipe and New FDA Salt Laws

Mother’s day, graduation, or just for fun parties are on their way for this season. This is one of my favorites–even without a crowd. I love Cole slaw, but I hate the heap load of mayo that comes with it. It’s perfect with grilled food: fish, chicken, steak, or burgers. The dressing is made of mayo (much less than would usually find in store-bought coleslaw), ketchup, lemon juice, mustard, and some salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to be able to mix together. While I have amount for the dressing ingredients, I have to admit they are an estimate. Taste it, adjust, and re-taste until you get to the right balance you like.


  • 1 pkg Cole slaw shredded cabbage or broccoli slaw
  • 1 small pkg shredded carrots
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp no-salt-added ketchup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 tsp salt)


Mix the dressing ingredients, then toss with cabbage (or broccoli) and carrots.

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What’s the deal with no-salt-added ketchup?

Haven’t you heard the news? The FDA wants to start an 10-year initiative with food companies to set rules on the maximum limit of salt in processed foods. The goal is to reduce the amount by 25%.

This decision makes me happy–I know there are some of you who prefer less rules, but let’s face it, there’s just too much sodium in our food. When I work cardiac unit at my hospital, it can be frustrating to teach my patients to avoid salt. It seems like it’s everywhere! Yes, ketchup has a lot! It’s not just soy sauce, potato chips, or pickles, it’s in canned foods, some frozen foods, crackers, cookies, cereal, snack foods, sauces, soups, etc. I’m lucky to live in a place where health and nutrition are trendy and grocery stores carry low-sodium options, but that’s not the case for everyone across the country.

Plus, I’ve tried some low-sodium soups and I’m sad and disappointed to say that they do not taste good.

The recommended limit for sodium is 2,400 mg a day, which is a teaspoon of salt (any type of salt–check my post on sea salt). I do have patients that tell me proudly that they do not cook with salt or they do not use the salt shakers. While this is great, it doesn’t end here. In an article in the Washington Post, data from the Center for Disease Control indicate that salt added at the table and salt used in cooking only account for 6 and 5 percent of total salt intake a day, respectively. Where does the rest come from? 12% is naturally occurring in food (such as milk), and 77% during processing.

Those 77% is what this new initiative will work on.

It’s important to note that sodium is a very important electrolyte for body functions. We need it to maintain our fluid balance, but when we eat sky-rocketing amounts, we hurt our bodies more than help. Unless you are an athlete who works out in hot, humid conditions, for more than hour, and loses a significant amount of sweat and sodium along with it, you should aim for less than 2,400 mg sodium a day.

You might be interested in:

A Guide to Low Salt Foods

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5 thoughts on “Cole Slaw Recipe and New FDA Salt Laws”

  1. The slaw looks delicious!

    I hadn’t heard this news on salt – thanks for posting! I have the same experience with patients…they think it ends at the salt shaker, and it takes a lot of education to get people to understand otherwise 🙂

  2. Nour, I agree–there’s way too much sodium in our food! This is one of the main reasons why John and I prefer to cook our own meals at home. Restaurant food is just too salty! Great article.

    1. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

      Thanks Angie. Homemade food definitely is the best. No matter how much salt you put while cooking, as long as you start with fresh or low salt ingredients, it’s much better than packaged meals or restaurant food.

  3. hey 🙂
    the cole slaw looks great, i’ve never tried to make it before, i think i’ll give it a try.
    after this recipe , it looks really easy to make .
    thank you .

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