Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Low-Salt Diets: Eating Out
For many people, eating out is
something they do to relax and socialize. You don't have to give this up when
you are on a low-sodium diet, but it is important to be more careful about what
you order in a restaurant. Sodium isn't just in table salt. You can also find
it in sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and monosodium
glutamate (MSG). Asian foods often have MSG as well as soy sauce, which is also
high in sodium. But with some planning and helpful tips, you can still enjoy eating
out while limiting the sodium in your diet.
requires extra effort to avoid sodium when you eat out, because you can't
always tell by looking at the menu which items are high in sodium. It often
depends on how the restaurant prepares the meal, what ingredients they use, and
how much sodium they add. Here are some ways to avoid sodium when you dine
Learn what food items are okay and which ones to avoid. For
example, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce has more than 1,000 mg of sodium, and 1
teaspoon of salt has about 2,300 mg of sodium. You can use the following list
and bring it with you to the restaurant. You may be able to substitute low-salt
or fresh menu items for those with higher sodium content.
Smoked, cured, and salted meat,
fish, and poultry
Fresh, grilled, baked, poached,
or broiled meat, fish, or poultry
Ham, bacon, hot dogs, luncheon
meats, and cheese
Fresh roasted pork, turkey, or
Fresh steamed vegetables with no
added salt. (Assume that cooked vegetables have added salt unless you ask for
them to be prepared without it.)
Condiments, such as pickles,
olives, tartar sauce, and ketchup
Sliced cucumbers, malt vinegar,
or low-sodium ketchup and mustard
Sauces, including soy sauce,
tomato sauce, au jus, and gravy
Low-sodium tomato sauce, olive oil. Or ask for your food to be prepared without sauces, or have the sauces served on the side.
Oil and vinegar, lemon juice, or
Soups and broths
Salads without croutons, bacon,
cheese, or olives
Tomato juice or any drink that contains tomato
juice, such as V-8 or Clamato. This includes alcoholic drinks like Bloody
Orange juice, other citrus
juices, or soft drinks
Fried or seasoned
Steamed plain rice. (Asian
restaurants often add salt to steamed rice. Be sure to ask for steamed rice
without added salt.)
Pasta with tomato
Pasta tossed in olive oil or with
Ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt, and angel food cake are
all lower-sodium dessert choices.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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