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Cooking with less salt is one way to reduce the amount of sodium you get from food. Sodium is one of the elements that make up salt. It is found naturally in foods and is also added to certain foods. Depending on your condition and overall health, your health care provider or dietitian may recommend that you reduce your sodium intake. Most people should have less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you may need to limit your sodium to 1,500 mg each day. Follow the tips below to help reduce your sodium intake.
Reading food labels
Regular canned vegetables (not low-sodium or reduced-sodium). Sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, and relishes. Olives. French fries. Onion rings. Regular canned tomato sauce and paste. Regular tomato and vegetable juice. Frozen vegetables in sauces.
Instant hot cereals. Bread stuffing, pancake, and biscuit mixes. Croutons. Seasoned rice or pasta mixes. Noodle soup cups. Boxed or frozen macaroni and cheese. Regular salted crackers. Self-rising flour. Rolls. Bagels. Flour tortillas and wraps.
Meats and other proteins
Meat or fish that is salted, canned, smoked, cured, spiced, or pickled. This includes bacon, ham, sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, chipped beef, meat loaves, salt pork, jerky, pickled herring, anchovies, regular canned tuna, and sardines. Salted nuts.
Processed cheese and cheese spreads. Cheese curds. Blue cheese. Feta cheese. String cheese. Regular cottage cheese. Buttermilk. Canned milk.
The items listed above may not be a complete list of foods high in sodium. Actual amounts of sodium may be different depending on processing. Contact a dietitian for more information.
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit with no sauce added. Fruit juice.
Fresh or frozen vegetables with no sauce added. "No salt added" canned vegetables. "No salt added" tomato sauce and paste. Low-sodium or reduced-sodium tomato and vegetable juice.
Noodles, pasta, quinoa, rice. Shredded or puffed wheat or puffed rice. Regular or quick oats (not instant). Low-sodium crackers. Low-sodium bread. Whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta. Unsalted popcorn.
Fresh or frozen whole meats, poultry (not injected with sodium), and fish with no sauce added. Unsalted nuts. Dried peas, beans, and lentils without added salt. Unsalted canned beans. Eggs. Unsalted nut butters. Low-sodium canned tuna or chicken.
Milk. Soy milk. Yogurt. Low-sodium cheeses, such as Swiss, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and ricotta. Sherbet or ice cream (keep to ½ cup per serving). Cream cheese.
Fats and oils
Unsalted butter or margarine.
Homemade pudding. Sodium-free baking soda and baking powder. Herbs and spices. Low-sodium seasoning mixes.
Coffee and tea. Carbonated beverages.
The items listed above may not be a complete list of foods low in sodium. Actual amounts of sodium may be different depending on processing. Contact a dietitian for more information.
The following are herbs, seasonings, and spices that can be used instead of salt to flavor your food. Herbs should be fresh or dried. Do not choose packaged mixes. Next to the name of the herb, spice, or seasoning are some examples of foods you can pair it with.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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