1. Read the Nutrition Facts label on every package… and try to choose foods that have a sodium Daily Value of less than 15%.1
2. Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
3. Eat more foods that you prepare yourself – this way you can control the amount of salt used.
4. Talk to your physician or a dietitian about the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
5. Look for processed foods that are low or reduced in sodium. Add pepper, herbs and spices to adjust the taste,
6. Know where sodium is lurking. Here are the 20 main sources of sodium in the Canadian diet: Here’s a look at how much sodium Canadians consume from among some of the highest sodium-containing food groups. This list is not exhaustive, but the order is precise, and the amount of sodium as you move down the chart becomes lower. Bread is the biggest contributor of sodium to our diet because it is an important part of the Canadian diet and is eaten in large quantities.2 Rank Food groups
Processed meats
Pasta dishes
More than a third
come just from
4 categories
Note: 'Other' refers to other than canned, pickled, smoked or dried.
We’re not suggesting you completely avoid or eliminate any of these foods from your diet… this is just to give you an idea of where sodium is most often found… so that you can plan your menus accordingly.
Consult with your healthcare professional prior to making changes to your diet, such as reducing
your salt intake. T
ell your healthcare professional about your medical history as well as about
any/all medications you take. Your healthcare professional will help you decide if reducing your salt
intake is right for you.
enjoYIng low sodIuM Foods3
a Few TIPs…
• Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to limit your intake
of sodium, since they contain little sodium. • Don’t let sodium sneak up on you!! Sometimes those same fruits and vegetables, once processed, have a lot more sodium. Keep your eye on the labels of products like tomato sauces • Canned foods in water solutions – like vegetables or tinned fish – can be very salty. Rinse them before eating them – this will help to eliminate some of the sodium.
• Beware of marinades, sauces, salad dressings, pickled products and condiments – most of them contain a lot of sodium. Make your own instead. (See “Seasoning without the salt shaker” section • Processed, cured or deli meats are often loaded with sodium. You should limit your consumption and select fresh meats as much as possible. Remember that even ‘healthy’ foods sometimes pack • When you’re preparing pasta or rice, try to avoid using kits or boxes of prepared dishes seasonIng wITHouT THe salT sHakeR4
Mix it up! Experiment with different ways of seasoning your food that don’t use salt or salt-containing ingredients.
Lemon juice, fresh garlic, spices, dried herbs (or fresh when you can get them), a splash of wine, perhaps a flavoured vinegar – all of these will give your food some zest without using the salt shaker.
Here’s a seasoning mix you can make and use to replace the salt in your table shaker:
HeRB seasonIng
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl Store in a cool, dark, dry place, in a jar that has a tight-fitting lid. This blend will keep for up to 6 months.
You can also purchase a product like Mrs. Dash®, a no-salt seasoning mix that will give your food Mrs. Dash and similar products are easy to find in the seasonings section of your grocery store.
1 teaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon pepper1 teaspoon sage½ teaspoon cayenne (optional) dIeT MakeoveR
Sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes and substitutions to have a tasty meal that’s much lower in sodium.
Here’s an example. Can you think of others? Be creative. Treat yourself and challenge yourself at the same time! Your sodium
You were going sodium But think about sodium
intake is
to have this…
this instead…
reduced by
To keep in mind…
this many mg
For You!!
Sodium values adapted from the Nutrient Values of Some Common Foods, Health Canada Let’s go out to dinner!
There are a few simple things you can do when you go out to eat that will help you avoid sodium in the foods you order. For example: • Ask your server to tell the kitchen that you’d like any dressings or sauces served on the side.
• If you have a craving for pizza, choose toppings that are lower in sodium, like vegetables or chicken. Avoid things like anchovies and sundried tomatoes that are very salty.
• Feel like Chinese or Indian food? Order plain rice rather than rice cooked with other ingredients.
• At chain restaurants, like those selling burgers or submarines, the nutritional content of each food offered is posted somewhere – if it is not, ask to see it and select the ones that contain the least amount of sodium.
1. Health Canada. Using the Nutrition Facts Table: % Daily Value (Fact Sheet), 2010.
label-etiquet/nutrition/cons/fact-fiche-eng.php (accessed September 2011).
2. Fischer P et al. Sodium food sources in the Canadian diet. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2009;34:884-92.
3. Health Canada. Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods, 2008. fiche-nutri-data/nvscf-vnqau-eng.pdf (accessed September 2011).
4. American Heart Association. Low-Salt Cookbook, 3rd Edition.


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