Simple Strategies to Decrease Sodium


Sodium is an essential nutrient found in many foods. Our bodies need only a small amount of

sodium to be healthy and too much can lead to high blood pressure- a major risk factor for

stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Nutrient recommendations state that individuals aged 14

and over should consume no more than 2300 mg sodium per day. A sodium intake above 2300

mg per day is likely to pose a health risk. The following tips can help you reduce your daily

sodium intake:

  • Reading the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods can help you identify the amount of

sodium per serving. Compare labels and chose products lowest in sodium and don’t

forget to check the number of servings per container.

  •  When shopping, look for foods that contain less than 360mg of sodium per serving

and for products with a sodium content of less than 15% Daily Value (DV). Buy

lower sodium foods to prepare healthier meals at home.

  • Know what common foods are higher in sodium such as canned/packaged items,

convenience items, processed meats, cheese, jarred foods preserved in salt, and salted

snack foods and try to minimize how much and how often you consume them.

  • Choose fresh and frozen poultry that hasn’t been injected with a sodium solution.

Check the fine print on the packaging for terms like broth, saline or sodium

solution as well as pick unseasoned meats.

  • When choosing condiments such as dips, dressings, sauces, salsas and others, look

for a reduced or a lower-sodium version.

  • Try to eat more fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit; when buying, canned vegetables

purchase those labeled with “no added salt.”

  • Don’t forget to drain and rinse canned beans and vegetables as it can decrease the sodium

content by up to 40%.

  • Taste your food before adding salt. If you think it needs a boost of flavor, add

freshly ground black pepper or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and test it again

before adding salt.

  • Use herbs, onions, spices, citrus juices and vinegars in place of some or all the salt to add

flavour to different foods.

  • Reduce the amount of salt you add while cooking, baking, or at the table. Prepare

your own meals often, using little or no salt.

  • If you don’t like the taste of lower sodium foods try combining them in equal parts with a

regular version of the same food. You will get less salt and probably won’t notice much

difference in taste.

  • When eating at a restaurant, ask for nutrient information for the menu items and

select meals lower in sodium.

  • Control your portion sizes. When you cut calories, you usually cut the sodium too.

By making healthier choices when grocery shopping, cooking at home and eating out, you can

help lower the amount of sodium you and your family eats while lowering the risk of health

conditions linked to high sodium intakes.


Written by Hilary Rock BSc, Nutrition

Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD

Resources: Eat Right Ontario, Health Canada, Heart and Stroke, American Heart Association