Back to School at
Home > Food > General Nutrition > Nutritional Information > Reducing Salt in Your Diet

Reducing Salt in Your Diet

Giving up salt doesn't mean giving up the pleasure of eating. However, you'll need to be a bit more selective with certain food products and much more creative in the seasoning department. The following guidelines can show you how to drastically cut the amount of salt in your food and body:

Food for Thought

Folks with recurring kidney stones (calcium-oxalate stones), should follow a low-salt diet.


Be aware that some over-the-counter medicines contain a lot of sodium. For example, two tablets of dissolvable Alka-Seltzer (plop plop fizz fizz) have a whopping 1,134 milligrams of sodium. (Each single tablet provides 567 milligrams.) Instead, opt for the caplets that you swallow; they contain only 1.8 milligrams. Quite a drastic difference.

  • Enhance the flavor of your foods with spices and herbs.
  • Avoid putting a salt shaker on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner table.
  • Choose fresh and frozen vegetables when possible. (The canned versions generally contain a lot of salt.) When canned is the only option, reduce the salt by draining the liquid and rinsing the vegetables in water before eating.
  • Another plug for fresh fruit: it's naturally low in sodium and high in potassium.
  • Go easy on condiments that contain considerable amounts of salt, including catsup, mustard, monosodium glutamate (MSG), salad dressings, sauces, bouillon cubes, olives, sauerkraut, and pickles. Stock your kitchen with low-sodium versions of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, steak sauce, and anything else you might find in your travels.
  • Select unsalted (or reduced salt) nuts, seeds, crackers, popcorn, and pretzels.
  • Take it easy with cheese. Unfortunately, it not only has a lot of fat, but sodium as well. If you're feeling extra motivated, stock your fridge with low-salt/low-fat brands.
  • Read labels carefully and choose foods lower in sodium, especially when choosing frozen dinners, canned soups, packaged mixes, and combination dishes.
  • Avoid processed luncheon cold cuts, as well as cured and smoked meats. Also be aware that most varieties of canned fish (tuna, salmon, and sardines) are extremely high in sodium.
  • When dining in Chinese or Japanese restaurants ask for meals without MSG or added salt. Nowadays, you can also request low-sodium soy sauce for your table. If they don't have any, dilute the regular by adding a tablespoon of water.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

August 30, 2014

Keep it hot (or cold)! No one likes cold soup or warm, wilted salad. Use a thermos or ice pack in your child's lunch box to help keep his lunch fresh until it's time to eat.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!