Sodium Restrictions

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Aug 3, 2010
Clare, Michigan
I had an aneurysm repaired along with a replacement of my valve (mechanical). I was just curious how many others out there that have had similiar procedures limit the amount of sodium the consume each day. And, if so, what do you try to stay under. My surgeon says I should maintain a heart healthy sodium intake, while my cardiologist says I do not need to. I try to stay under 2000 mg of sodium for the day, but it is really hard to do.


Premium Level
Jul 20, 2007
New Mexico
I am on a sodium restricted diet & have been for the last 3 years due to congestive heart failure. My cardio wants me to stay below 1500 but like you said, it's not that easy!

But, I have gotten better at it. I have never been the type that has to have a salt shaker next to me when I eat, like my husband, so the transition was not all that difficult. I make sure to look at every label of every grocery item I purchase. If there is a low-sodium or no salt item available, I will buy that. Watch the serving size also & try to stay below that limit if you can.

Good luck to you & I know you can do it too! :)


Well-known member
Jun 10, 2001
upstate New York
My husband was on a severe sodium restriction, due to congestive heart failure. I had to make almost everything for him from scratch, including his bread, and I watched every single label I bought, including the meat labels. Some markets add sodium solution to their meats, so do be careful of that. Even milk has some sodium.

I also purchased many items online for him. In particular, the Mr. Spice sauces are just terrific.

Here are a couple of links for you:

Believe it or not, if you are inventive, you can make almost everything w/o salt or sodium, and even make it taste good. Those sauces above help a lot.

Here are some other ideas:

Low salt items and recipes

Bumble Bee, very Low Sodium, Chunk White Albacore Tuna. 1 percent per serving.

Belgioioso Mascarpone cheese, Tiramisu flavor
(very, very low sodium), really delicious.
Check out their regular mascarpone too as a substitute for ricotta

Pomi Brand, by Parmalat: All Natural/No Fat/No Sodium Added
Strained Tomatoes (10 mg sodium per serving)
and also
Chopped Tomatoes (10 mg sodium per serving)

This is great for Italian sauces because it doesn't have all the citric acid that canned low sodium tomatoes has, which make any sauce taste terrible.

These make a wonderful sauce for Italian dishes.

Note: Be careful not to buy the regular Pomi Tomato sauce, it has lots of sodium
4C Salt Free Seasoned Breadcrumbs. I think Hannaford, but might be Price Chopper.

Manischewitz Matzo Meal, unsalted, can be used for breading and in meatballs.

Breakstone Sour Cream, no sodium

Real Maple Syrup has no sodium

4C Parmesan Cheese is 3 percent sodium per 1 Tablespoon serving. I allow Joe 1 teaspoon for Italian dishes (that's 1 percent)

Heluva Good Cheese makes a nice no sodium cheddar

Fresh mozzarella cheese is usually much lower in sodium, check the labels.

Lorraine Cheese is lower sodium

Swiss Cheese is usually lower sodium

Good condiment I bought some Dickenson's Hot Pepper Spread and Hot Cherry Spread, 0 sodium, a savory jelly, kind of gourmet.

The Vermont Bread Company makes a wonderful salt free whole wheat bread. It is expensive, but they will ship to anyone who wants. They may have more, but that's what our market carries.

Italian Tuscan Bread usually has much lower sodium and in some cases, no sodium.

You can easily make your own bread w/o salt. Just eliminate it from the recipe. It really doesn’t need it.

Be careful of any baked goods or homemade goods that use baking soda or baking powder. That is loaded with sodium. You have to use EnerG no sodium baking soda or powder as a substitute.

Chef Prudhomme makes "Magic Seasoning" which is salt-free, and is terrific.

Sylvia's makes a spice mix, salt-free which tastes great.

Vidalia Valley makes nice no sodium Vidalia onion condiments, they have some sugar though. But you could use a little.

Mrs. Dash makes nice no sodium marinades

Low or no sodium potato chips do exist, search the aisles in the market.

Meats!! Many meats in the market have been injected with a sodium solution. You must check all labels for sodium content. This is even true when buying from the custom cut dept. It may not say it has been injected with a sodium solution, it may say something like moist and tender, or say some other thing meaning some kind of injection process.

This is true of chicken, pork, turkey and even beef. Some of the sodium content is as bad as what you would get from cold cuts!!!

Milk has a lot of sodium!

Most cheeses except for the ones I’ve mentioned above have a lot of sodium.

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Very low sodium Italian sauce and meatballs This was the biggest challenge, to find a way to make Italian sauce that tasted good. The canned no salt tomatoes are dreadful, too acidic and produce a sauce that is disgusting.

This recipe requires the use of Pomi brand No Salt Strained Tomatoes, made by Parmalat. It comes in a box, like Parmalat milk. Not every market stocks them. They do not have the extra added acid that the canned tomatoes have and make a sauce that has a beautiful texture, and delicious flavor.

Tomato Sauce and Meatballs, No Salt

1 Box of Pomi No Salt, Strained Tomatoes
Garlic Salt, I used quite a bit, a Tablespoon
1 bay leaf
Basil to taste
Oregano to taste
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil

Simmer on medium low until it changes color (the oil on top gets a little dark), scraping down sides often and stirring it into the sauce. That part is important, it adds to the flavor because it brings the concentrated tomatoes from the sides back down into the pot.

It will take at least an hour to get to the change color stage. Don't let it burn. Slow cooking. A lot of stirring and scraping down the sides. This is very important.

Add 1/8 cup dark brown sugar (not the molasses kind)
½ teas. Cayenne (8 shakes), if you like it hot.


1 lb. Good quality ground chuck
Garlic to taste
Oregano to taste
Basil to taste
1 egg
Matzo Meal (No salt) about ½ cup. The Matzo Meal made the meatballs very light and nice.

Form into walnut sized balls.

Fry in oil until browned on all sides.

Add to sauce to finish cooking.

I allow Joe 1 teaspoon of 4C Parmesan cheese. It's his "pittance" he says.

Very Low Salt Eggplant "Parmesan" Use your homemade tomato sauce to make this dish.

You'll need:

3 eggs
No Salt Matzo Meal
No Salt 4C Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Garlic Powder
Fresh mozzarella, Lorraine Cheese or thinly sliced Heluva Good no sodium cheddar
Corn Oil

Slice eggplant into 3/8 inches slices.

Set out three bowls, one with flour, one with 3 well-beaten eggs mixed with a Tab. water until perfectly smooth, one with either 4C No Salt Seasoned Bread Crumbs or No Salt Matzo Meal mixed with garlic, basil and oregano.

Dip each slice into flour, then egg wash, then into bread crumbs or Matzo Meal.

Fry slices in oil until golden brown. Drain.

Add a small amount of tomato sauce to the bottom of a large pan, add eggplant, cover each slice with some tomato sauce. I also add more garlic powder, basil and oregano, on top of tomato sauce. Put 1/4 slice of cheese on each eggplant slice.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.

This heats up well for eggplant sandwiches the next day (using your own homemade no salt bread, of course), or with some toasted no salt bread, buttered with no salt butter, and sprinkled with garlic, basil and oregano.

Rub for pork chops (good on chicken too) This is pretty darned good but, Hot, hot, hot!!! **Tone down the cayenne pepper if you don’t like spicy things.

Rub on pork chops before grilling.

2 Tab. onion powder
1 1/2 teas. black pepper
**3/4 Tab, cayenne pepper
1 Tab. paprika
2 1/2 teas. garlic powder
1 1/2 teas. ground thyme
1 1/2 teas. allspice
1 1/2 teas. sugar
1 1/2 teas. ground nutmeg

Low almost no salt "bacon" This would probably only work for those of you who have to be on an almost no sodium diet, but if you crave the bacon taste, it's pretty good.

When I buy porkchops, I look for the ones which have the most fat. I trim that off with a tiny meat portion and slice it as thin as I can get it. Partial freezing helps. Then I put into a bowl and add some liquid smoke. Liquid smoke has a small amount of sodium, it's pretty powerful stuff so a little goes a long way. I let it refrigerate for a couple of hours. Then render it down slowly until it gets crispy like bacon.

Joe had that this morning with some yeast blueberry pancakes, real maple syrup and no salt butter.

I bet you could also make some Canadian bacon by slicing boneless porkchops really thin and then brushing with a little liquid smoke.

With a poached egg, no salt Hollandaise (homemade) and some homemade no salt English muffins you have Eggs Benedict or in common parlance, an Egg McMuffin.

Mayonnaise substitute

I found a recipe for old fashioned boiled dressing. It has lots of cholesterol, but no sodium, and has a good flavor with lots of tang. Not too bad. You can slather all you wants on a sandwich, etc.

I also used it on wilted spinach and onion salad, pretty tasty, no bacon though.

Here it is for you low sodium guys and gals:

Boiled Dressing:

4 eggs
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
1/4 Cup lemon juice (maybe a little less, if you don't like a lot of acid)
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
a little onion juice (I used onion powder)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
dash pepper
A few drops Worcestershire (just a few)

Slightly beat eggs, add vinegar and lemon juice and cook in the top part of a double boiler very slowly until quite thick and smooth, Stir frequently.

Remover from heat, stir in butter while hot. Season with onion juice, sugar, mustard, paprika, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well blended.

Chill well. If you want it more creamy and thick, stir in some whipped cream. (I didn't do this).

Keep in a non-reactive container in the fridge.

Biscotti For those who have never had biscotti, they are sort of dry little biscuits with a lot of flavor. They're great with coffee in the morning. These aren't too dry, so much more palatable.

1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup Butter (no salt)
3 large eggs
3 Cups flour


1.)1 Tab. lemon zest
1/4 Cup lemon juice

Topping, lemon glaze frosting


2.) 2 teas. instant coffee
1/4 Cup water
1 teas vanilla

Topping chocolate glaze (sprinkle w. toasted halelnuts)
eat with some Belgioioso Mascarpone cheese, Tiramisu flavor
(very, very low sodium). In deli section of the market


3.) 1 teas. vanilla
1/4 Cup water
1/3 Cup chopped pecans

Topping, vanilla glaze with chopped toasted pecans


Beat 1 cup sugar and the butter. Add the eggs and mix well, add the flour and mix well. Add desired flavorings and mix well. Dough will be very soft, chill until firm enough to handle.

Note: I just skipped this part and went ahead with the dough. It was hard to handle, but it worked out. I shaped them on a floured surface.

I formed them into logs, about a generous tablespoon at a time, and gave them an "S" shape. I put mine on the new Release foil from Reynolds wrap, on a large cookie sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 50 minutes until golden, could be less depending on your particular oven. Let them cool and top with desired glaze.

Mine yielded about 15

10 alarm salsa Very HOT!!

Here's a Tomatillo Salsa which will make your eyes cross.

10 Tomatillos
1 small onion, cut up
3 cloves garlic cut up
2 Habanero peppers I leave the seeds in (jalapenos, if you're faint of heart, or bell peppers is you're a total wimp, LOL)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Put tomatillos in a non-reactive saucepan and simmer in water until soft and the skin bursts. Drain and put everything into the food processor and process until your desired texture. Refirgerate. You can use this with no salt potato chips for a dip, or on fried jalapeno and cheese baked cornmeal for breakfast, or on eggs, etc

Heart-healthy Baked Doughnuts

For those who have to watch sodium, and even for those who don't. It's not your usual greasy doughnuts and does take some work. But if you're missing your doughnuts due to dietary restrictions, you might like this. Found the recipe on the web:

No-Fry [Baked] Doughnuts
2 packages dry yeast (about 35 gr of fresh, or 2 scant Tbsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt (left that out for Joe)
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
4-1/2 cups flour
cinnamon, sugar or sugar glaze for topping

In a large mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, salt, spice(s), eggs, shortening and 2 cups flour. Blend 1/2 minute at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Stir in remaining flour until smooth, scraping sides of bowl. Cover. Let rise in warm place until double (50-60 minutes).

Turn dough onto well-floured cloth-covered board; roll around *lightly* to coat with flour. Dough will be soft to handle.

With floured, stockinette-covered rolling pin, gently roll dough about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2-1/2 inch doughnut cutter. Lift doughnuts carefully with spatula and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Brush doughnuts with melted butter. Cover; let rise until double (about 20 minutes).

Heat oven to 420 degrees. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Immediately brush with melted butter and shake in sugar or cinnamon or spread with glaze.

Makes 1-1/2 to 2 dozen doughnuts.

Cinnamon sugar: 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Creamy glaze: Melt 1/3 cup butter. Blend in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1-1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in 4 to 6 Tbsp water, one at a time, until melted glaze is of proper consistency.

MY EXPERIENCE: It's true; the dough does not have to be kneaded. This gives an extremely light and loose dough. I did not use a cloth or stockinette; a floured surface and floured rolling pin were sufficient. With the dough so light, a feather touch rolls it out. Nonetheless, the doughnuts rolled out from the "scraps" of dough did come out thicker and nicer.

I did not brush them with butter either before or after baking, with no apparent
harm (since I was using glaze instead of cinammon sugar). As far as the glaze is concerned, I went for a thinner version and simply dunked each doughnut in it.

Final verdict: They may look a bit like bagels, but they taste as doughnuts should.

recipe from “Ruth"

Note: I eliminate the salt and use water in place of milk.

Instead of cinnamon sugar, I glazed them right after taking them out of the oven with a loose glaze (w/o butter) and let them dry on racks. Then when they're dry, I reglazed them on top with a stiffer glaze (w/o butter), like a frosting. I did half with chocolate glaze and half with lemon glaze.

Lasagna, Stuffed Shells or Manicotti-- Low Sodium

This uses Italian "Fresh Basket Cheese" which you can get at some markets or in an Italian import store. It does not contain salt. Make sure to read the ingredients in the brand you buy.

Cook macaroni according to directions. Fill with the following:

1 basket Fresh Basket Cheese (no salt) or low sodium mascarpone cheese, mash with fork or pastry blender to very small curds
3 eggs
Basil to taste
Parsley to taste
Oregano to taste
Mix together with about 1/4 cup water until well blended.

Fill pasta, or assemble lasagna.

Cover with homemade Tomato Sauce (low sodium), see Recipes Archive. Bake according to directions until hot and bubbly. Mine said 35 minutes @ 350 degrees.

This makes about 22 jumbo shells or 12 manicotti or a medium lasagna

Hot V-8, low sodium, low vitamin K

Hot V-8 Juice, very, very low sodium, very low Vitamin K

1 box Pomi brand strained tomatoes with no sodium
1 Pomi box of water, after you use the strained tomatoes
½ teas. celery seeds
3 teas. Chef Prudhomme Magic Seasoning (no salt)
1 teas. onion powder
2-1/2 teas. sugar
2 teas. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls. plus 1 teas lemon juice
3/4 teas. cayenne pepper–this makes it very hot, so if you like less hot, or not hot adjust to your liking
1 carrot grated very fine

Stir well and refrigerate. Makes approx. a quart and a half of juice. Probably excellent for low sodium Bloody Marys, too.

Note: If you cannot find Pomi brand strained tomatoes, look for canned no salt or low sodium tomato sauce. Cut with equal amounts of water. These will have citric acid or some other acid added, so you will have to adjust the lemon juice to your own taste, in this case.

Note 2: If you are a salt freak, then you can use salted tomato products and add salt with abandon. Just adjust the lemon juice as above, if there is citric acid or other acid in the canned things.

This will still be lower in vitamin K than regular V-8.

Homemade Breakfast sausage

Pork Sausage no salt (see note at bottom, if you want to add salt)

2 lbs. pork butt
1 teas. garlic powder
1 teas. onion powder
1 teas. ground sage
1 teas. ground thyme
½ teas. ground rosemary
1 Tab. brown sugar
½ teas. nutmeg
1/4 teas. cayenne pepper (I use more, we like it hot)
½ teas. red pepper flakes

If you have a meat grinder, cut up pork into dice and feed once through the coarse blade. Then change to the fine blade and run through once.

Add spices and also add enough water slowly until the meat mixture is the consistency of medium stiff oatmeal. Let sit for about 10 minutes, and shape into patties. Fry up using a little oil until browned on both sides. Then use or refrigerate, or freeze for longer storage.

If you do not have a meat grinder, you can use a food processor. In this case, cut the meat into small dice and make sure to cut across sinews and stringy type things, so they will get ground up well.

Mix diced meat very well with all spices and add a little water.

Process meat in batches, adding more water until a good consistency is made. Put all batches in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Let stand about 10 minutes. Then fry up in a little oil until nicely browned, and use, refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

If you want to add salt, add 2 teas. Kosher salt along with spices.

Cinnamon Raisin Batter Bread

From Woman’s Day Magazine, over 20 years ago.

1 Pkg. dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. softened butter
1 teas. salt (omit for no salt bread, doesn’t really need it)
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup raisins (toss with 1 Tbsp. flour before adding)

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in honey, butter, salt (if using) and only 2 cups of flour.

Beat on low speed with electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to high, beat one minute. Scrape bowl, beat one minute more.

Stir in remaining flour. Cover and let rise until doubled, no more. This takes about 45 minutes in a warm kitchen, and longer if the kitchen is not warm.

Grease 9X5 loaf pan.

Punch batter down by stirring about 30 strokes with wooden spoon.

In separate small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. sugar together. Stir cinnamon mix and raisins into dough (use hands and just squeeze the cinnamon and raisins into a marbley effect).

As an alternative, I have also added everything all together before beating. That seems to work just fine, and is less trouble.

Scoop into loaf pan

Let rise covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam on side next to the dough, so it won’t stick. Only let it rise to just below the top of the pan, no more, or it might collapse in the oven. It normally takes about 30-40 minutes, but could take longer.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Immediately turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack and allow to come to room temp. Do not slice until it cools.

Eggplant caponata

Eggplant peeled and diced (one)
Tomatoes, ripe, seeded and diced (two large)
Onion diced (one medium)
Celery small dice (two ribs)
Black olives, sliced (10 or so) (I used low sodium ones)
Peppers multi-colored, seeded, small slices (three small ones or halves)
Garlic chopped (three cloves)
Olive oil, 1/2 cup more or less
Balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup more or less
Hot pepper flakes to taste
Salt to taste if you use it.

Saute eggplant dice in olive oil, until browned, but not mushy. Set aside in a non-reactive bowl. Saute peppers with garlic and onions until soft, then add tomato and celery dice and let them soften a little. Add to eggplant. Add the oil that was used for cooking, add vinegar and spices to taste.

Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight. I served it cold. Some like it hot.


Aug 3, 2010
Clare, Michigan
Thanks for all of the information

Thanks for all of the information


Thank you so much for the wealth of information. I have had a hard time finding foods that meet requirements for a lower sodium diet. I appreciate all you have given. I have never really been a prepare it yourself kind of guy. Boxes and cans seem so much easier. But, I never realized how much sodium I would consume in a day. The one thing that I do miss is macaroni and cheese. I have not yet found a low sodium solution. Thanks, Jason

drivetopless Donator
Dec 29, 2008
formerly Atlanta, GA.
Wow, Nancy. That is great! You are now my go-to-girl for Low Sodium Questions. Maybe there needs to be an "Eating Low Sodium" forum. I know we do it for our heart health, but more and more info is coming out about how excessive salt in our diets is contributing to the obesity epidemic and health problems. Salt is the new carb!


Well-known member
Jun 10, 2001
upstate New York
Hey, Jason-

Making macaroni and cheese is about as easy as falling off a log. Macaroni has no sodium (usually), Heluva Good Cheese has a no sodium cheddar, you can mix the grated cheese with cream which has little or no sodium, melt that over a low flame and then mix in the cooked macaroni. You can sprinkle it on top with Chef Prudhomme's no salt spice mix mixed with some no salt bread crumbs and some no salt butter.

Not exactly low calorie, but definitely low sodium.

If you want more flavor, add some garlic, some cayenne pepper, maybe some diced red bell peppers for color.

And, if you have been good all day, cook up one (and only one) piece of bacon and crumble it and sprinkle that on top. Put some grinds of fresh pepper on top and bake, until bubbly.

Luana Supporter
Oct 23, 2009
Salt hides a multitude of sins when it comes to cooking which is why restaurants and fast-food places load everything with salt. Sometimes when I eat out the first thing I taste in something is salt, which I find rather annoying.


Well-known member
Jun 10, 2001
upstate New York
If you watch the Food Network, some of those professional chefs use way too much salt. It's an epidemic in this country. The FDA is trying to get food manufacturers to lower the salt and sodium content of their processed foods. This is a good thing.

Luana Supporter
Oct 23, 2009
If you watch the Food Network, some of those professional chefs use way too much salt. It's an epidemic in this country. The FDA is trying to get food manufacturers to lower the salt and sodium content of their processed foods. This is a good thing.
Omg, yes! One day Chef Anne Burrell was making something, don't remember what, and she literally grabbed a handful of salt and put it in what she was cooking. I gasped! It was not a pot of water to boil pasta in either. I do like a small amount of salt in some things, but don't use much at all. My mom never used much salt either.


Steely Resolve!
Apr 21, 2005
Coastal Carolina
I am amazed that no doctor ever has advised me to lower sodium intake. However, I have no doubt that limiting salt intake is in the interest of good health. Nancy has provided some terrific information.


Dec 16, 2001
On The Hot Seat
I'm pretty much limited to whatever comes with the food. I'm not to add any salt to anything, but not completely cut it out of my diet either.


Well-known member
Jun 10, 2001
upstate New York
Luana, it was Anne Burrell I was thinking of. I just read an article about professional chefs getting so used to the taste of salt that they think normal seasoning has no taste, so they keep adding more and more.

Every time I see a judge on "Chopped" complain that the dish has no seasoning, I think that they are probably immune to the taste of salt too, because I see the contestant chefs adding seasoning while they are cooking.

I do think salt is addictive in some respects. It takes a little while to get used to a lower amount of sodium, but I agree that food tastes fresher w/o much salt. Plus you can taste the actual thing you are eating, your taste buds aren't burned by the salt.

Maryka Donator
Feb 5, 2009
Silver Spring, MD, USA
I am on a diuretic (low dose hydrochlorothiazide). I am happy with the results except that besides washing out a lot of my sodium i also wash potasium from my system and I have been busy trying to get some potasium foods into me. I try to not eat high sodium foods, but if any of us ever buys food out, we get a lot of sodium by default!