Most of the sodium you get comes from processed and restaurant food, so it’s helpful to learn ways to help reduce sodium while eating out.
Ordering from a Menu
- Request that your food be prepared without salt. Carry your own spice blend, salt-free seasoning or salt substitute.
- Choose food that requires minimal preparation, such as broiled, baked or roasted meats made without sauces, breading or batters. Order sauces and au jus on the side, and use them sparingly.
- Try lemon juice or vinegar and oil for salad dressing, or request that regular salad dressings be served on the side, and use them sparingly.
- Carry your own low-sodium salad dressings, available in individual packets.
- Choose fresh fruit or fruit juice for an appetizer.
- Choose beverages lower in sodium such as coffee, tea, milk, soda pop or lemonade. Avoid buttermilk, tomato juice and vegetable juice.
- For sandwich fillings, choose lean, fresh meats rather than processed meats and meat salads. Request fresh fruit, unsalted french fries, and lettuce, tomato and onion for sandwich accompaniments in place of dill pickles and potato chips.
- Choose ice cream, sherbet, gelatin or fruit for dessert rather than higher sodium items such as pies and pastries.
- Order a plain sandwich without pickles, ketchup, mustard, cheese and special sauces.
- Request lettuce, tomato and onion for garnish.
- Order unsalted french fries.
- Choose fresh vegetables or canned or fresh fruits as a major part of your meal.
- Choose vinegar and oil or lemon juice for salad dressing.
- Limit use of higher sodium ingredients such as bacon bits, pickles, cheese and meat salads.
- For Asian dining, choose menu items that are made to order. Request that food be prepared without salt, soy sauce or MSG (monosodium glutamate).
- Choose menu items that do not include sauces. Mexican entrées such as tacos, burritos and tostadas are lower sodium choices.
- Other ethnic foods, such as German and Italian, are difficult to control since these foods may be prepared ahead of time. Compensate for your meal out by eating foods low in sodium at home (prior to and after the ethnic meal).
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