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Low sodium foods are abundant and many are natural, organic, and can be easily found. They can be found in every food group and there are many different possibilities for a low sodium meal.
BREADS, CEREALS, RICE AND PASTA
Most rice and pastas are very low in sodium. Compare labels to find products with less salt and don’t add salt when cooking. The following are also all viable low-sodium food items:
• Whole grain bread
• Puffed rice
• Rolled oats
• Shredded wheats
• Unsalted popcorn
• Bread, bagels, English muffins, crackers, or bread sticks without salted tops.
Any kind of fruit or fruit juice (fresh, frozen, or canned) is low in sodium if it does not contain sauces. Fruits particularly low in sodium include:
As with fruits, all fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Vegetables may also be frozen of canned if, like fruits, they do not contain sauces.
• Green peppers
• Lima beans
• Sweet potatoes
Choose fresh meats when possible. Some fresh meat has added sodium, so always check the label.
• 6 ounces daily of any fresh or frozen beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish without salt or sodium in the preparation and without skin.
• Low sodium, water packed tuna or salmon
• Eggs and egg substitutes
• Unsalted nuts and seeds
• Low sodium nut butter
• Olive oil and other cooking oils
• Low sodium mayonnaise
• Unsalted butter or margarine
• Low sodium salad dressings
Milk is a healthy dairy product that contains virtually no sodium. Choose fat free or low-fat milk and yogurt more often than cheese, which can be high in sodium. Milk and yogurt are also good sources of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
• Low sodium cottage cheese
• Fat free or low fat yogurt
• Skim or 1% milk
• Soy-based drinks with added calcium
• Non-dairy creamers
• Sour cream
• Ice cream
CONDIMENTS AND EXTRAS
Choose condiments that are low in sodium or have no sodium at all, and try seasonings instead of salt to flavor food.
• Spices and herbs without sodium or salt
• Fresh horseradish or prepared without salt
• Baking soda and powder
• Cream of tartar
• Tabasco sauce or low sodium chili sauces
• Mrs. Dash and other sodium-free seasonings
• Jams and jellies
• Low sodium ketchup
• Low sodium tomato sauces and vegetable juices without salt or sodium added
HIGH SODIUM FOODS TO AVOID
• Buttermilk, malted milk, chocolate milk
• Bacon (all types), sausages or hot dogs, all lunch meats unless low sodium
• Breaded meats (such as chicken parmesan)
• Meats koshered by salting
• Canned or frozen vegetables if processed with salt
• Anchovies and other smoked fish; caviar
• Anything pickled (such as sauerkraut, pickles); olives
EAT LESS SODIUM:QUICK TIPS
1. Know your sodium limit
- Healthy adults need to limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt)
- Some people, including children and those with high blood pressure, need to keep their sodium intake even lower (no more than 1,500 mg per day). Ask your doctor how much sodium is okay for you.
- If you need to make changes, slowly reduce the amount of sodium in your foods and your taste for salt will change with time.
- Use the Nutrition Facts Label to check the sodium in packaged foods. Try to choose products with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less. A sodium content of 20% DV or more is high.
- Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
3. Shop for low sodium foods
- Load up on vegetables, fruits, beans, and peas, which are naturally low in sodium. Fresh, frozen, and dried options are all good choices.
- When you buy canned fruit, look for options packed in 100% juice or water.
- When you buy canned vegetables and beans, choose ones with labels that say “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
- Compare the sodium in foods like bread, soup, and frozen meals. Choose the ones with less sodium.
- Limit processed foods, especially foods that are salted, smoked, or cured, like hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats.
4. Prepare your meals with less sodium
- If you buy canned foods (like vegetables, beans, or fish), choose low sodium varieties.
- If you use canned foods that aren’t low sodium, rinse them before eating to wash away some of the salt.
- Use unsalted butter or soft margarine.
- Don’t add salt to the water when you cook pasta or rice.
- Try different herbs and spices to flavor yourfood instead of salt.
5. Add more potassium to your diet
- Adding more potassium can help lower your blood pressure. Good sources of potassium include potatoes, cantaloupe, bananas, beans, and yogurt.