15 Low-Sodium Foods to Help You Cut Your Salt Intake

Did you know the USDA recommends eating no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily? Here's a list of low-sodium foods to swap in for 15 high-sodium culprits.

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Turkey slices next to cobb sandwich
Taste of Home

Buy: Turkey Breast
Skip: Cold Cuts

Processed meats like deli cold cuts tend to be loaded with sodium and preservatives. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite turkey sandwich anymore. Preparing your own meat at home and slicing for sandwiches is a great alternative. Give this apricot-glazed turkey breast a try.

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Homemade soup vs canned
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Make: Homemade Soup
Skip: Canned Soup

Canned goods, especially soups, are packed full of sodium to help with preservation and flavor. Making soup at home is not only fun, but a great way to control how much salt is going into your dish. This chicken barley soup is hearty, delicious, and low-sodium.

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Snappy tuna melt and a peanutbutter mayo and cheese sandwich
Taste of Home

Buy: Swiss
Skip: Cheddar

Cheese is a common culprit for driving up daily sodium intake, but not all cheeses are the same in terms of salt content. Swiss cheese is actually the lowest sodium cheese and can often be substituted for other cheeses in dishes. Plain Greek yogurt, avocado and potato can also be great creamy substitutes in dishes calling for cheese, too.

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Homemade ketchup vs store bought
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Make: Homemade Ketchup
Skip: Store-Bought Condiments

All condiments are usually loaded with salt as a preservative and flavoring agent. They can really increase your overall sodium intake when eaten in large quantities, like ketchup often is. This spicy ketchup recipe is a great alternative as it’s much lower in sodium than the store-bought stuff.

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Popcorn vs potato chips
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Buy: Popcorn
Skip: Chips

It’s no surprise that chips are huge sodium bombs. These crunchy snacks can be addictive, quickly adding up the salt load! There are a lot of snack options much lower in sodium to satisfy that crunchy craving, like veggie sticks with dip or this delicious ranch popcorn.

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Pasta and jarred sauce
Taste of Home

Make: Fresh Tomato Sauce
Skip: Jarred Pasta Sauce

While jarred tomato sauce can be a lifesaver when you need to make a quick meal, it can also be loaded with sodium. Thankfully, homemade tomato sauce doesn’t have to be simmering on the stove all day to be delicious. This no-cook fresh tomato sauce is low in sodium and quick to whip up on a weeknight.

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Homemade fries vs fast food
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Make: Potato Wedges
Skip: French Fries

These salty treats can really sabotage your low-sodium diet! However, there are lots of lower sodium alternatives to french fries—from making fries at home with minimal salt added, to veggie fries, to these delicious herbed potato wedges. Cut the salt in this recipe in half to make it even lower in sodium.

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Homemade salad dressing vs store bought
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Make: Homemade Salad Dressing
Skip: Store-Bought Salad Dressing

Store-bought salad dressing, while convenient, can be loaded with salt. Thankfully, homemade salad dressing is incredibly easy to make and usually tastes way better than the stuff from the grocery store. These balsamic herb vinaigrette and orange yogurt dressing recipes are great places to start.

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Mushroom and traditional bread sandwiches side by side
Taste of Home

Buy: Mushroom Caps
Skip: Bread

Surprisingly, bread is one of the most common foods that puts people over the edge with sodium. Store-bought breads can be loaded with salt that adds up especially quickly given that we typically eat more than one slice at a time. One way around this is to make your own low-sodium bread at home or to start swapping out bread for veggie alternatives like these ricotta-stuffed portobello mushrooms, reminiscent of open-faced sammies.

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Market Pantry Beef Broth boxes on display at a Target store.
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Make: Homemade Broth
Skip: Store-Bought Broth

The beef and chicken broth that you typically buy from the grocery store is full of sodium to improve flavor. Broths and stocks are really easy to make at home. If you make a big batch, the broth stores well in the freezer, too. Give this salt-free homemade chicken broth a try.

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Fresh veggies vs canned
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Buy: Fresh Vegetables
Skip: Canned Vegetables

Canned veggies, while convenient, are packed with salt to help with preservation. One way to help reduce the sodium load is to rinse the veggies out of the can or purchase fresh produce. This honey garlic green beans recipe is low in sodium and delicious.

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Soft-baked pretzels vs hard pretzels
Taste of Home

Buy: Salt-Free Pretzels
Skip: Regular Pretzels

Given that pretzels are covered in large salt granules, they are certainly a high-sodium food. But there are ways to still enjoy these delicious snacks in a more balanced way. Whether that be asking for a salt-free soft pretzel at the ball game or making them at home and being very sparing with how much salt you sprinkle on top.

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Bell pepper pickles and dill pickles
Taste of Home

Buy: Sweet Pickles
Skip: Dill Pickles

Pickles are a common culprit when trying to pinpoint where the salt in your diet is coming from. However, not all pickles need to be of the dill variety—the sweeter the pickle, the less salt it contains. So give some bread and butter pickles a try or make a lower sodium pickle at home like these pickled bell peppers.

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Make: Homemade Pizza
Skip: Frozen Pizza

From the crust to the sauce to the cheese on top, there are many reasons why pizza is loaded with sodium. But with some creativity, you can still enjoy this classic food, especially if you make it from scratch. This whole wheat veggie pizza is a great lower sodium option to try.

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Two different kinds of nuts prepared differently
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Buy: Unsalted Nuts
Skip: Roasted, Salted Nuts

Nuts are an incredible source of healthy fat and protein. But the roasted, salted varieties can be loaded up with sodium! We recommend buying the raw or unsalted roasted varieties from the supermarket and enjoy them like that or include them in a low-sodium recipe like these spiced mixed nuts.

Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.