Adding some extra salt to your meal will now require a few extra steps at many health care facilities in Nova Scotia.

Starting Thursday, acute care facilities in nine districts across the province and the IWK Health Centre will take salt shakers and salt packets off the tables in cafeterias and other areas where food is sold and served. Salt packets will also no longer be provided on patient meal trays.

“We are moving to what we call a ‘salt by request’ approach,” says Paula MacEachern, the Cape Breton District Health Authority’s director of nutrition and food services. “If someone wants to add salt to their meal, they can ask our staff for the salt.”

Every day the average Canadian takes in more than twice the amount of salt than they need in their diet. The Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada recommends a goal of reducing the average intake of sodium from 3,400 milligrams a day to 2,300 milligrams by the year 2016.

High sodium intake is linked to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, among other diseases.

As part of the next phase of the provincial healthy eating initiative, deep fryers will no longer be used in any of the districts, or at the IWK by the end of August.