Daily sodium limits are a personal matter to discuss with your doctor. The USDA currently recommends 2,400 mg of sodium a day.
Our Low Sodium Meals have an average of 644 mg of salt per meal. If you eat them for lunch and supper, that would be an average of 1288 mg a day, to which you would add a low-sodium breakfast.
American Heart Association Sodium Recommendations
Healthy American adults should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day. Americans consume up to 75 percent of their sodium from processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes.
You can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by following these guidelines:
- Read labels carefully. Look for any form of sodium or salt, such as sodium benzoate or sodium citrate. Choose foods that have less salt.
- Add very little or no salt to food that you prepare. Hide that salt shaker!
- Check the sodium content when you use baking powder, baking soda, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Do not add salt to food at the table. Instead, use freshly ground pepper or some fresh herbs.
- Fast foods and many restaurant meals are very high in salt. When you eat at a restaurant, try steamed fish and vegetables or fresh salads. Avoid soups.
- Avoid eating the following foods:
- ketchup(unless it is low-salt), prepared mustard, pickles, and olives
- soy sauce, steak or barbecue sauce, chili sauce, or Worcestershire sauce
- bouillon cubes. Most prepared Oriental sauces such as Oyster Sauce are also high in sodium.
- commercially prepared or cured meats or fish (for example, bacon, luncheon meats, and canned sardines)
- canned vegetables, soups, and other packaged convenience foods (to lower salt in canned soups, prepare as directed, but add a few cups of chopped cooked vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, carrots and parsnips. That will increase the number of servings, and each serving will have much less salt.)
- salty cheeses and buttermilk
- salted nuts and peanut butter
- self-rising flour and biscuit mixes
- salted crackers, chips, popcorn, and pretzels
- commercial salad dressings
- instant cooked cereals
If your diet must be restricted to much lower amounts of sodium, talk to your health care provider and a registered dietitian for help in planning your meals. It is important to keep your meals nutritionally balanced and tasty. It can be hard to follow a restricted-salt diet if the food doesn't taste good, but there are many healthy ways to add taste without adding salt or fat. Our meals are tasty and easy to prepare, but we suggest taking the weekly nutritional information to your healthcare provider to confirm that the meals will be correctly balanced in your individual case.
Use of Salt Substitutes
It is important to ask your health care provider about using salt substitutes. Most salt substitutes contain potassium for flavor. If you are taking certain medications, you may need to be careful about the amount of potassium in your diet.
Substitutions and Hints
- Season foods with herbs and spices. Use onions, garlic, parsley, lemon and lime juice and rind, dill weed, basil, tarragon, marjoram, thyme, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, paprika, vinegar, or wine to enhance the flavor and aroma of foods. Mushrooms, celery, red pepper, yellow pepper, green pepper, and dried fruits also enhance specific dishes.
- Eat fresh foods (instead of canned or packaged foods) as much as possible. Also, plain frozen fruits and vegetables usually do not have added salt.
- Add a pinch of sugar or a squeeze of lemon juice to bring out the flavor in fresh vegetables.
- If you must use canned products, use the low-sodium types (except for fruit). Rinse canned vegetables with tap water before cooking.
- >Substitute unsalted, polyunsaturated margarine for regular margarine or butter, or simply sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs.
- Eat low-sodium cheeses. Many are available now, some with herbs and spices that are very tasty, and many are also low-fat.
- Drink low-sodium juices.
- Make unsalted or lightly salted soup stocks and keep them in the freezer to use as substitutes for canned broth and bouillon. Use these broths to enhance vegetables.
- Substitute wines and vinegars (especially the flavored vinegars) for salt to enhance flavors.
- Use one or more of the following to season chicken: curry, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, tarragon, thyme, sage, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, or orange, lemon, or lime juice with ginger.
- Use one or more of the following to season beef: dry mustard, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, red wine, mushrooms, onions, red or green pepper, parsley, curry, green chilies, or orange rind.
- Use one or more of the following to season seafood: lemon, parsley, paprika, wine, garlic and onions, cilantro, ginger, bay leaf, fennel, dill, marjoram, or thyme.
- Use one or more of the following to season noodles: basil, oregano, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, low-salt salad dressings, pine nuts, or low-salt mozzarella cheese.
- Cook rice in homemade broth with mushrooms and scallions or shallots.
See the meals >>