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What Foods Are Low in Sodium? Make Healthier Choices

What Foods Are Low in Sodium

Has your doctor advised you to reduce your sodium intake to improve your health? Your daily diet is your main source of sodium, so it's a good idea to recognize the foods that are low in sodium and incorporate them into your diet.

Fresh and whole foods are low in sodium. The best examples are fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, milk, and eggs. Plus, whole grains, legumes, and unsalted nuts and seeds are also low-sodium. Steer clear of processed foods, though, as they can increase your sodium intake.

You need to limit your daily sodium intake to 2300 mg, though keeping it between 1500 mg and 2000 mg would be even better. If you're wondering how to plan a low-sodium diet, keep reading!

Key Takeaways

  • Fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods are the lowest in sodium content and are ideal for a low-sodium diet.
  • Most packaged savory items like instant noodles, frozen patties, canned meat, etc., are loaded with sodium.
  • A good low-sodium diet with less than 2300 mg sodium a day is excellent for overall health improvement.

Low Sodium Foods in Grocery Stores

Low-sodium Foods

The foods you pick up at the grocery store can help you stay on the low-sodium wagon- or throw you off it. Before creating a shopping list, follow a few simple tips and guidelines to help you. They are as follows:

  • Choose fresh foods instead of preserved, canned, or processed foods.
  • Pick ingredients to make foods from scratch - instead of buying ready-to-eat or instant foods in packages.
  • When you buy products like cheese, yogurt, condiments, etc., check the food label to find out the sodium content.

Reading Food Labels to Understand Sodium Content

Here’s how to understand the various terms used to indicate that your food does not have too much sodium:

Term Used Sodium Content
Salt/Sodium-Free Less than 5 mg per serving
Very Low Sodium Less than 35 mg per serving
Low Sodium Less than 140 mg per serving
Sodium-reduced 25% less than standard
Light in Sodium Over 50% less than standard
No Added Salt No salt added
Sodium <5% DV Less than 5% of sodium (Daily value)

List of Low Sodium Foods

What products should go into your low-sodium shopping list? Here’s a quick look: Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are low in sodium. But stay away from canned or preserved ones. Some fruits like strawberry guava and passionfruit, and vegetables like celery and beet have more sodium but are still fit for a low-sodium diet.

Whole Grains, Legumes, and Beans

Whole grains like rice, quinoa, lentils, etc., are low-sodium sources of fiber. Always pick whole grain products like bread, pasta, cereals, tofu, etc., instead of canned ones. Check the labels to ensure there's no or low sodium.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great low-sodium options for your snacks. You can also add them to salads and breakfast bowls. Whether you pick roasted whole nuts and seeds or go for nut butter, look for unsalted and unspiced ones.


Dairy products like milk, cream, and yogurt are safe additions to low-sodium diet plans. Some natural cheese varieties like cream cheese, ricotta, goat cheese, mozzarella, etc., along with any low-sodium cheese, are also ideal.


Whole eggs, egg whites, and yolks are excellent sodium-free options. You can also find these in powder form, which has no salt. While cooking them, you can add as little salt as you want. Even a small sprinkle can lift their taste.

Lean Proteins

Skinless chicken/turkey breast, pork tenderloin, beef sirloin, white fish, etc., are low in sodium. Unlike processed, brined, pickled, or pre-marinated variants, fresh lean cuts cooked at home or served at restaurants are healthy options.

Herbs and Spices

Most herbs and spices are low-sodium and enhance flavors to help lower salt usage. Even those with a slightly higher sodium content are a good fit for low sodium options. However, spice and herb mixes often have added salt.


In addition to water, you can quench your thirst with tea, coffee, coconut water, etc., without worrying about sodium. While regular sodas like Coke have low sodium content, they are not healthy additions to any diet.

What Foods Have No Sodium At All

Healthy Foods for Low-sodium Diet

Preparing a low-sodium shopping list? Here is a list of top foods with 0% DV sodium! Take a look:

  • Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits: Apple, Asian pear, banana, blueberry, cherry, chestnuts, clementine, coconut, cranberry, date, fig, grape, grapefruit, litchi, longan, nectarine, orange, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon;

Vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, kale, kidney beansprouts, lettuce, mushroom, onion, pepper, potato, pumpkin, radish, snap beans, snow peas, soybean sprouts, spring onion, squash, tomato, yam, zucchini.

  • Lean Protein

Poultry: Chicken breast, chicken wings, ground turkey

Red meat: bacon strips, beef shortrips, buffalo sirloin, lamb leg and shoulder, pork loi, rabbit.

  • Dairy, Eggs and Fats

Dairy: cream cheese, ghee, low-sodium cheese (Chedder & Parmesan), sour cream, unsalted butter, whipped cream.

Eggs and fats: avocado oil, beef & chicken separable fat, eggs (white and yolk), mustard oil, olive oil, peanut oil, rendered bacon fat, pork backfat, rice bran oil, sesame oil, soybean oil.

  • Herbs & Spices and Sauces and Condiments

Herbs & spices: Basil, bayleaf, black and white pepper, cardamon, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, chili, cloves, dill, garlic powder, ginger, lemongrass, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, peppermint, spearmint, tarragon, turmeric.

Sauces and condiments: Apple cider vinegar, applesauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, chocolate sauce, destilled and red wine vinegar, fruit syrup, honey, maple syrup, mayonnaise, mustard paste, sugar syrup, tomato paste, wasabi paste.

  • Nuts and Seeds

Nuts: Almonds, beechnuts, breadfruit nuts, cashews, ginkgo nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts.

Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds.

  • Legumes, Grains and Whole Grain Products

Legumes: Black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, peas, pinto peans, soybeans.

Grains: Barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, mung beans, navy beans, oats, rice, spelt, wheat.

Whole grain products: Corn noodles, corn grits, couscous, farina, hominy grits, puffed rice, shirataki noodles, tempeh, tofu, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta.

  • Desserts

Sweets: Chocolate, fruit candy, jellibeans.

Cakes: Plain cake, fudge cake.

Looking to enrich your low-sodium daily menu? Then, why not try our low-sodium Mediterranean dishes, crafted by talented chefs? Cook Unity offers a convenient Mediterranean meal delivery service to make your life easier! Order now!

Low Sodium Fast Food

Fast foods are convenient - and a fast way to make your sodium levels fly through the roof. So, it’s always better to cut down on them. But what do you do when you’re out socializing or traveling?

You need to make smart choices by picking low-sodium options from the menu. Here are some examples of low-sodium fast food options:

  • Potatoes hash browns
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches
  • Ice cream without caramel sauce
  • Plain cake without salted sauces
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • French fries (without salt)
  • Smoothies
  • Veggie burgers with fresh patties
  • Freshly made Ramen or noodle bowls
  • Salads with dressing on the side

Always pick fast food places that make these from scratch and avoid fast foods out of the freezer or packets. Those have the highest sodium content.

Related: What Is the Mediterranean Diet and How to Get Started?

Foods Naturally High in Sodium

High-sodium Foods

Some foods are naturally high in sodium, while others are processed with it. Here is a list of foods to strike off from your shopping list and avoid:

  • Seafood: Anchovies, clam, crab, prawns, sardines;

  • Processed meats: Beef jerky, cured ham, pepperoni, pork salami, SPAM;

  • Preserved products: Any brined, pickled, canned, and smoked meat and fish, as well as pickled veggies and fruits like canned pineapples, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, sun-dried tomatoes;

  • Dairy: Butter, buttermilk, natural cheese, cottage chees, Roquefort, Swiss cheese, processed cheese;

  • Condiments: Barbeque sauce, ketchup, panch dressing, soy sauce, Tamari sauce;

  • Readymade spice mixes & marinades with salt: Cajun spice, Chaat masala, Piri Piri spice mix, BBQ spice rub, steak marinades;

  • Ready-to-cook foods: Bottled pasta sauce, canned soup, frozen burger patties, instant cake mix, ready-to-make ramen;

  • Ready-to-eat snacks: Cheese crisps, corn chips, microwave popcorn, potato fries, salted nut mix.

High-sodium Terminology on Labels

There are certain terms on the food label that indicate high sodium. Be careful about products that mention the following:

  • Baking soda/baking powder/soda bicarb/sodium bicarbonate
  • Disodium phosphate MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
  • Salt (table/sea/rock/pink/black, etc.)
  • Sodium alginate/citrate/nitrite
  • Sodium > 20% Daily Value (DV)

Related: How Much Sodium on a Low-sodium Diet Can You Have?

What Is a Good Low-sodium Meal?

The sodium content in a good low-sodium meal depends on the number of meals and the daily sodium intake limit. Such a diet plan has a restriction of 2300 mg of sodium. But it is ideal to keep it between 1500 mg and 2000 mg.

To ensure that your daily plan does not push your sodium intake beyond the limit, pay attention to each meal. So, for a 2300 mg plan with 5 meals, each meal should contain 460 mg or less with healthy foods mentioned above.

Example of low-sodium meal:

  • Grilled chicken breast with herbs, spices, and lemon juice
  • Steamed rice
  • Mixed vegetables and tofu
  • Side salad with olive oil, vinegar, and black pepper dressing

You should also incorporate meals that need no salt to taste better. Fruit salads, yogurt, cereals, desserts, etc., are perfect.

Low-salt Diet for Hypertension

People with hypertension should ideally maintain a sodium intake of 1000-1500 mg people worldwide. And sodium is one of the major contributors to this condition.

To plan a low-sodium diet for hypertension, consult your doctor and dietician. Replace processed and packaged foods, salty snacks, canned foods, etc., with fresh, whole foods. At restaurants and fast food cafes, always choose freshly-cooked low-sodium options.

Here’s a low-sodium shopping guide PDF to help you pick the right foods and avoid the harmful ones loaded with sodium.

Related: What Can You Eat on a Low Sodium Diet? The Exhaustive List

What Foods Are Low in Sodium? FAQs

Q: What are some low-sodium fruits?

A: Fruits like apple, berries, pineapple, banana, etc., are low in sodium and excellent additions to any diet plan. In general, fresh fruits are low in sodium and provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. But preserved and pickled fruits have sodium.

Q: Where can I find a shopping list for a low sodium diet?

A: If you are looking for a shopping list for a low-sodium diet plan, you can download this PDF file. You can also create your own shopping list by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and seeds, and spices - and avoiding packaged, processed, and pre-cooked foods as much as possible.

Q: What meat is the lowest in sodium?

A: Lean meat options like skinless chicken breast, turkey breast, pork tenderloin, beef sirloin, etc., are the lowest in sodium. But make sure that they are freshly cut and unprocessed. Processed meat varieties like sausage, salami, etc., often contain a lot of sodium.

Related: What Foods Are Good for Low Sodium Levels?


You might think that meals with low-sodium foods will taste bland. But there are plenty of recipes that can be enhanced with the right herbs, like in the Mediterranean diet, which doesn't favour high-sodium foods. Your tastebuds will soon get accustomed to low sodium - and your body will thank you for it!