Lower-Sodium Foods: Shopping List

Most people eat much more sodium (salt) than they need. This can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. To lower the amount of sodium in your diet, follow these tips when you go food shopping:

  • Choose fresh instead of processed foods when you can
  • Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the amount of sodium — you can compare labels to find products with less sodium
  • Look for foods labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added”

Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping to help you choose foods that are lower in sodium.

Vegetables and Fruits

Buy plenty of vegetables and fruits, like:

  • Any fresh fruits, like apples, oranges, or bananas
  • Any fresh vegetables, like spinach, carrots, or broccoli
  • Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauce
  • Canned vegetables that are low in sodium or have no salt added — you can rinse them off to remove some of the sodium
  • Low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Frozen, canned, or dried fruits with no added sugars

Whole Grains

Compare labels to find products with less sodium. Look for foods with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less for sodium. A DV of 20% or more is high. 

Here are some good options to try:

  • Whole grains like brown or wild rice, quinoa, or barley
  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous — just don’t add salt to the water when you cook it
  • Whole-grain hot or cold breakfast cereals with no added sugars, like oatmeal or shredded wheat
  • Unsalted popcorn or low-sodium chips and pretzels
  • Whole-grain breads, bagels, English muffins, tortillas, and crackers

Proteins

Choose fresh or frozen seafood, poultry, and meats instead of processed options. Some meat, poultry, and seafood has added sodium. If the package has a Nutrition Facts label, look for 5% DV or less.

Choose options like:

  • Fresh or frozen fish or shellfish
  • Chicken or turkey breast without skin or marinade
  • Lean cuts of beef or pork
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Dried beans, peas, and lentils — like black beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Canned beans labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium” — rinse them off to remove some of the sodium
  • Eggs

Dairy

Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, lactose-free dairy products, or fortified soy alternatives like:

  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
  • Low-sodium or reduced-sodium cheese — be sure to check the label since cheese can be high in sodium
  • Soy milk or soy yogurt with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D

Dressings, Oils, and Condiments

When you cook, use ingredients that are low in sodium or have no sodium at all — for example:

  • Unsalted margarine and spreads (soft, tub, or liquid) with less saturated fat than butter
  • Vegetable oils (canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, or sunflower)
  • Low-sodium salad dressing — or oil and vinegar
  • Low-sodium or "no salt added" ketchup
  • Low-sodium salsa or picante sauce

Seasonings

Try these seasonings instead of salt to flavor your food:

  • Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning blends
  • Chopped vegetables — like garlic, onions, and peppers
  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Ginger

Content last updated December 2, 2021

Reviewer Information

This information on low sodium foods was adapted from materials from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Reviewed by:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion