Most people eat much more sodium (salt) than they need. This can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. When you go food shopping, keep these tips in mind for reducing the sodium in your diet:
- Choose fresh instead of processed foods when you can.
- Use the Nutrition Facts Label to check the amount of sodium. Look for foods 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.”
Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping.
Vegetables and Fruits
Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits when possible.
- Any fresh fruits, like apples, oranges, or bananas
- Any fresh vegetables, like spinach, carrots, or broccoli
- Frozen vegetables without added sauce
- Canned vegetables that are low in sodium or have no salt added
- Low sodium vegetable juice
- Frozen or dried fruit (unsweetened)
- Canned fruit (packed in water or 100% juice)
Breads, Cereals, and Grains
Compare labels to find products with less sodium. When you cook rice or pasta, don’t add salt.
- Plain rice or pasta (Tip: If you buy a package with a seasoning packet, use only part of the packet to reduce the sodium content.)
- Unsweetened shredded wheat
- Unsalted popcorn
Meats, Nuts, and Beans
Choose fresh meats when possible. Some fresh meat has added sodium, so always check the label.
- Fish or shellfish
- Chicken or turkey breast without skin
- Lean cuts of beef or pork
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Peas and beans
- Canned beans labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium”
Milk and Milk Products
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.
- Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
- Low sodium or reduced sodium cheese (like Natural Swiss Cheese)
- Soy-based drinks with added calcium (soymilk)
Dressings, Oils, and Condiments
When preparing food, choose ingredients that are low in sodium or have no sodium at all.
- Unsalted butter or margarine
- Vegetable oils (canola, olive, peanut, sesame oil)
- Sodium-free salad dressing and mayonnaise
Try these seasonings instead of salt to flavor food.
- Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning blends
- Chopped vegetables, such as garlic, onions, and peppers
- Lemons and limes