How can I reduce my sodium intake when dining out?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
Keeping your sodium intake low while dining out can be difficult but it’s not impossible. You just have to plan ahead. Try these simple tips next time you head out to eat:
  • Check the restaurant’s website for the sodium content of menu items. Commit to selecting the lower sodium options when you get there.
  • Ask how foods are prepared and don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions.
  • Scan the menu for clues. Pickled, cured, smoked, soy sauce, broth, miso, barbequed, teriyaki, creole and even marinated are all code for high sodium.
  • Order meat, fish or chicken simply grilled. Skip the sauces and gravies which are usually very high in sodium. Squeeze on a little lemon or lime for extra flavor.
  • Request that veggies be steamed, grilled or roasted without added sauce. This works especially well with green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and carrots which are already so flavorful.
  • Instead of mashed potatoes or French fries, opt for a small baked sweet or white potato as a side. Skip the mountain of butter and sour cream of course.
  • Focus on fresh options like salads but ask for the dressing on the side -- then don't eat all of it. Salad dressings are notoriously high in sodium unless maybe they are made from scratch.
  • Request that the kitchen go light on the cheese or light on the sauce when possible to cut the sodium content of entrees.
  • Skip the salt shaker.
Take these tips with you on your next outing and continue to build. You're well on your way to being sodium savvy!

Continue Learning about Sodium

How can reducing salt intake affect my blood pressure?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Reducing sodium in the diet can reduce systolic blood pressure (SBP) by about 1 to 5 mm Hg. The more...
More Answers
What foods can I eat if I'm on a low sodium diet?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
Here is a list of foods that you can eat if you are on a low sodium diet: Bread, cereals, and gra...
More Answers
How can I flavor food if I'm on a low sodium diet?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
A low-sodium/salt diet does not mean giving up flavor. Learn to season your food with herbs and spic...
More Answers
How can eating salt affect my mood?
Here's something potato chip addicts around the world might already suspect: Our bodies may equate s...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.