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A guide to choosing low-sodium foods

  • Always read food labels for serving size and sodium content.

    Food Group Use Limit (2 to 3 times a week) Eat less
    Dairy
    • yogurt, fat-free or low-fat plain, Greek or fruit-flavored
    • low-sodium cheese
    • dry powdered milk
    • liquid milk
    • buttermilk
    • cottage cheese
    • natural cheese (cheddar, colby, etc.)
    • instant beverage mixes with more than 200 mg sodium per serving
    • processed cheese such as American
    • cheese spreads
    • soft cheese such as brie, blue, Roquefort
    Protein
    • no-salt-added fresh or frozen fish, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, veal
    • low-sodium tuna
    • eggs
    • unsalted nuts
    • reduced-sodium processed meats and cheeses
    • low-sodium bacon
    • canned meat and fish
    • processed meats: ham, sausage, cold cuts, bacon, luncheon meats, hot dogs, jerky, smoked/cured meats
    • pickled herring
    • salted nuts
    • anchovies, herring, sardines
    Vegetables and fruits
    • fresh or frozen unsalted vegetables
    • no-salt-added or low-sodium canned vegetables or tomato products
    • dried beans, peas, lentils
    • all fruits 
    • sauerkraut
    • vegetables or potatoes with sauces or seasoning mixes
    • pickled vegetables
    • olives
    • canned vegetables and tomato products with salt 
    Grains
    • saltines with unsalted tops
    • Melba toast, rolls, unsalted bread sticks
    • homemade pancakes and waffles (no salt added)
    • potatoes, rice, pasta
    • unsalted pretzels or popcorn
    • low-sodium chips and crackers
    • potatoes, rice or noodles made without salt
    • baking powder biscuits
    • English muffins
    • bran cereals
    • graham crackers
    • breads and cereals with more than 180 mg sodium per serving
    • box mixes: stuffing, rice, pancakes, biscuits, casseroles, potatoes and noodles
    • salted crackers
    • salted snack food: potato chips, pretzels, popcorn
    • instant cooked cereals
    • commercially prepared refrigerated dough 
    Combination foods
    • homemade combination foods and soups with less or
      no salt
    • commercial low-sodium soups
    • TV dinners with less than 600 mg sodium per serving
    • reduced-sodium soups 
    • canned or frozen chow mein
    • frozen pot pies
    • canned stew, casseroles
    • prepared baked beans
    • TV dinners with more than 600 mg sodium per serving
    • canned and dried soups
    • bouillon
    Desserts
    • fruit
    • sherbet and fruit ice
    • plain cake or meringue
    • ice cream and frozen yogurt
    • jams, jellies, honey
    • homemade desserts, cooked puddings and boxed mixes with less than 200 mg sodium per serving

    Limit to one sodium-containing dessert each day:

    • baked desserts made from commercial mixes
    • commercially prepared cookies
    • instant puddings
    • desserts and candies made with salted nut
    • cream and fruit pies
     
    Beverages
    • sparkling water
    • fruit juices or drinks, lemonade, coffee, tea, pop
    • beverages with less than 70 mg sodium per serving
    • club soda
    • commercial sports drinks such as Gatorade®, Instant Preplay® or Take Five®
    • softened water
    • cocktail beverage mixes
    • instant cocoa
    Other
    • oil, vinegar, lemon juice
    • fresh or powdered onion or garlic
    • salt-free herbs and spice mixes
    • flavoring extracts
    • homemade gravy with less or no salt
    • salt-free bouillon or broth
    • unsalted ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce
    • salt-free nuts and seeds
    • table wine (not cooking wine)
    • homemade salad dressings
    • ketchup and mustard
    • tartar sauce (1 tablespoon)
    • barbeque sauce (1 tablespoon)
    • steak sauce (1 tablespoon)
    • commercial salsa (1 to 2 tablespoons)
    • prepared horseradish
    • regular and low-calorie salad dressing
    • salted margarine and mayonnaise (1 tablespoon)
    • all pickles, olives
    • seasoned salts
    • MSG
    • soy sauce
    • tenderizers
    • commercial gravy mixes
    • light-salt products
    • cooking wine
    • salted nuts and seeds