Low Sodium Diet Information

What Foods Are High in Sodium?

  • canned foods (vegetables, meats, pasta meals)
  • processed foods (meats such as bologna, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, sausage)
  • cheese
  • dried pasta and rice mixes
  • soups (canned and dried)
  • snack foods (chips, popcorn, pretzels, cheese puffs, salted nuts, etc.)
  • dips, sauces, and salad dressings

What Foods Are Low in Sodium?

  • plain breads, cereals, rice, and pasta (not dried pasta or rice mixes)
  • vegetables and fruits (fresh or frozen)
  • meats (fresh cuts; not processed meats)
  • milk and yogurt (these tend to be moderate in sodium)
  • beverages such as juices, tea, fruit drink/punch, and soda (sports drinks have sodium so these may need to be limited)

Which Seasonings Are Low in Sodium?

The following are considered low-sodium seasonings and do not require restriction:

  • allspice
  • bay leaf
  • basil
  • chili powder
  • chives
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • curry powder
  • dill
  • extracts (vanilla)
  • vinegar garlic (fresh)
  • garlic powder
  • ginger
  • horseradish sauce
  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • mace
  • marjoram
  • dry mustard
  • nutmeg
  • Mrs. Dash®
  • onion (fresh)
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • pepper
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • thyme
  • Tabasco®

Which Seasonings Are High in Sodium?

The following seasonings are high in sodium, but may be used in limited amounts, in most cases:

Limit the following seasonings to 1 tablespoon per meal:

  • barbecue sauce
  • cocktail sauce
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • hot sauce
  • low-calorie salad dressing
  • steak sauce

How Can You Help Your Child Reduce Salt Intake?

  • Do not use salt in cooking or at the table.
  • Cook with herbs and spices or, if permitted by your child’s physician, use salt substitutes such as Mrs. Dash®, NuSalt®, NoSalt®, or Morton’s Lite Salt®.
  • Seasonings with “salt” in the name, such as garlic salt, are high in sodium. When seasoning foods, use fresh garlic or garlic powder, use onion powder instead of onion salt, and try celery seed rather that celery salt.
  • Eat home-prepared meals, using fresh ingredients, instead of canned, frozen, or packaged meals. When dining out, request dressings and sauces on the side for your child. Ask the chef to hold the salt in food preparation.
Type of Food Allowed Avoid
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese


whole, 2 percent, or skim milk

cottage cheese, regular hard cheeses, tofu

puddings, custards, ice cream

processed cheese

cheese spreads

Meat, Fish, Poultry


fresh or frozen meats, poultry, fish

low sodium canned tuna or salmon

dried beans and peas

soybean / vegetable protein

peanut butter

salted or canned meats, fish (sardines, herring, anchovies), or poultry

lunch meats (bologna, ham, corned beef)

cured meats (ham, bacon, sausage)

hot dogs, dried beef, jerky

commercially frozen entrees

Kosher-prepared meats



fresh, frozen, or canned fruits, fruit juices None


fresh, frozen, or low sodium canned sauerkraut

salted or pickled vegetables

vegetables cooked w/ salted meats

regular vegetable juices

Starches, Breads, Cereals


potatoes, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, rice

unsalted potato chips, low sodium pretzels, unsalted crackers, unsalted popcorn, & nuts

whole grain and enriched breads

pancakes, muffins, french toast, waffles, biscuits, cookies, cakes

whole grain and enriched cooked or commercially prepared dry cereals

potato chips, salted snack foods & pretzels

commercially prepared rice and noodle mixes

salted breads, rolls and crackers

salted popcorn & nuts



cocoa, horseradish, herbs and spices such as onion powder, fresh garlic, garlic powder, celery seed

flavorings such as vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco®

low sodium condiments and seasonings such as Mrs. Dash®, Nu-Salt®, Morton’s Lite Salt®, NoSalt®

catsup, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, gravy (limit to 1 Tbsp/day)

low sodium canned soups, homemade soups

commercially prepared meat sauces

monosodium glutamate (MSG)

onion salt, garlic slat, celery salt, seasoned salt

olives, pickles

relish, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce®

dehydrated soup or bouillon, canned soups



butter, margarine, lard, shortening, vegetable oil, mayonnaise

salad dressing (limit 1 Tbsp/day)

salt pork, bacon fat, fat back

more than 1 Tbsp salad dressing/day