Easter has many food traditions, commonly with families feasting together.

Lamb was the main course of an Easter dinner 3,000 years ago and still is in many parts of the world. The tradition was held up because wool was a popular fabric during World War II. The demand of wool began to wane and fewer legs of lamb became available. Ham became a great alternative because farmers could preserve the meat during the winter months, allowing it to be ready by springtime. In 1950, ham was more affordable, only being 62 cents for a whole ham; while a leg of a lamb was 74 cents for less of a serving size.

But ham means salt, and a lot of it.

About 90% of Americans consume more than the dietary guidelines of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. We need some sodium, usually less than 500 milligrams each day, for our nerves and muscles to work correctly and maintain a stable blood pressure. Sodium is naturally found in foods such as celery, beets and milk. Over 70% of the sodium we eat is added in processed, prepackaged,or restaurant foods.

The way ham is prepared and processed usually relies on large amounts of sodium. A 3-ounce serving of ham can have up to 1,300 milligrams of sodium. According to the American Heart Association, the daily recommendation is no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and the ideal limit is less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Eating more sodium than the daily recommendations can cause extra sodium into your blood vessels increasing the blood inside them to increase your blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of headaches, strokes, heart failure, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. This Easter let's reduce the amount of sodium on your table with fresh ingredients.

When preparing your Easter dinner for your guests, offer a meat choice lower in sodium that everyone will enjoy. Putting a healthy twist to your Easter table will bring a smile to everyone because we are are Minnesota nice.

The recipe below includes a leaner cut of meat that’s packed with flavor and less sodium. Pork tenderloin with pineapple salsa recipe only has 245 mg of sodium per serving.

Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa


Pork tenderloin

  • 2 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root


  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple

  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped.

  • 2 green onions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil.

  • Place pork in roasting pan. Combine 3 tablespoons brown sugar, mustard and ginger in bowl; spread it over pork.

  • Bake in oven for about 35-40 minutes, until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

  • Combine pineapple, peppers, green onions, cilantro and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a bowl to create the salsa. Serve with pork.