Sodium-Controlled Diet

ExitCare ImageSodium is a mineral. It is found in many foods. Sodium may be found naturally or added during the making of a food. The most common form of sodium is salt, which is made up of sodium and chloride. Reducing your sodium intake involves changing your eating habits.

The following guidelines will help you reduce the sodium in your diet:

  • Stop using the salt shaker.

  • Use salt sparingly in cooking and baking.

  • Substitute with sodium-free seasonings and spices.

  • Do not use a salt substitute (potassium chloride) without your caregiver's permission.

  • Include a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods in your diet.

  • Limit the use of processed and convenience foods that are high in sodium.



  • Commercial bread stuffing, commercial pancake or waffle mixes, coating mixes. Waffles. Croutons. Prepared (boxed or frozen) potato, rice, or noodle mixes that contain salt or sodium. Salted French fries or hash browns. Salted popcorn, breads, crackers, chips, or snack foods.


  • Vegetables canned with salt or prepared in cream, butter, or cheese sauces. Sauerkraut. Tomato or vegetable juices canned with salt.

  • Fresh vegetables are allowed if rinsed thoroughly.


  • Fruit is okay to eat.

Meat and Meat Substitutes

  • Salted or smoked meats, such as bacon or Canadian bacon, chipped or corned beef, hot dogs, salt pork, luncheon meats, pastrami, ham, or sausage. Canned or smoked fish, poultry, or meat. Processed cheese or cheese spreads, blue or Roquefort cheese. Battered or frozen fish products. Prepared spaghetti sauce. Baked beans. Reuben sandwiches. Salted nuts. Caviar.


  • Limit buttermilk to 1 cup per week.

Soups and Combination Foods

  • Bouillon cubes, canned or dried soups, broth, consommé. Convenience (frozen or packaged) dinners with more than 600 mg sodium. Pot pies, pizza, Asian food, fast food cheeseburgers, and specialty sandwiches.

Desserts and Sweets

  • Regular (salted) desserts, pie, commercial fruit snack pies, commercial snack cakes, canned puddings.

  • Eat desserts and sweets in moderation.

Fats and Oils

  • Gravy mixes or canned gravy. No more than 1 to 2 tbs of salad dressing. Chip dips.

  • Eat fats and oils in moderation.


  • See those listed under the vegetables and milk groups.


  • Ketchup, mustard, meat sauces, salsa, regular (salted) and lite soy sauce or mustard. Dill pickles, olives, meat tenderizer. Prepared horseradish or pickle relish. Dutch-processed cocoa. Baking powder or baking soda used medicinally. Worcestershire sauce. "Light" salt. Salt substitute, unless approved by your caregiver.