Top 10 lower sodium choices

You have probably heard that soy sauce, canned soups, dill pickles and fast food usually contain a lot of sodium. However, sodium can be found where you least expect it. Healthy adults only need 1500 mg of sodium per day. Healthy children only need 1000 to 1500 mg of sodium per day. Good news! There are lots of lower sodium alternatives to some of our favourite everyday foods.

Start by making wise food choices from the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide.

Vegetables and Fruit:

  • Buy fresh or frozen vegetables whenever possible.
  • Look for canned vegetables that are low in sodium. Buy low sodium vegetable juice and tomato juice.

Grain Products:

  • Choose breads, breakfast cereals and bakery products that are lowest in sodium.
  • Enjoy a variety of grains such as barley, quinoa and rice which are naturally sodium free.

Milk and Alternatives:

  • Enjoy milk, fortified soy beverages and yogurt because they are low in sodium.

Meat and Alternatives:

  • Buy unseasoned meat, poultry, fish, seafood and tofu.
  • Choose unsalted nuts.
  • Buy low sodium canned beans or try dried beans, peas and lentils.  

Try these top 10 easy ways to cut back on sodium: 

Try…   Instead of...  
Fresh fruit and vegetables, unsalted popcorn or unsalted nuts                                                                                 Chips, salted pretzels or other salty snacks  
Low sodium or salt free vegetable juices; or make your own using a juicer   High sodium vegetable drinks  
Quick cooking oats made with water or milk on the stovetop or slow cooker    Instant hot cereals  
Yogurt   Cottage cheese  
Sandwiches made with roasted meat or poultry   Sandwiches made with canned or deli meat  
Fresh or frozen fish, lean meat or poultry   Luncheon meats or smoked fish  
Low sodium, sodium-reduced or no added sodium varieties of canned or dried soups or broth   High sodium canned soups  
Reduced sodium tomato sauce, homemade pasta sauce made with tomatoes, herbs and spices   Store bought pasta sauce  
Fresh or dried herbs and spices, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, lime juice, onions and pepper   Salt, kosher salt, sea salt, celery salt, garlic salt or onion salt, or soy sauce  
Oil, unsalted margarine or unsalted butter   Salted margarine or salted butter  

For information on the health effects of sodium, check out Cut out the Salt.

To learn how to identify salt and sodium on the label, read Get the Scoop on Salt.

Last Update – November 5, 2018

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