Low sodium diet (1989)

Key points below

A lower sodium diet has been recommended for your child.  Sodium is a mineral that is in many foods. Table salt is the most common form of sodium.  See the chart below for sodium recommendations by age.  This amount may or may not be appropriate for your child.  Discuss specific limits with your healthcare provider.

Age and amount of sodium per day

2 to 3 years - Less than 1,500 mg/day

4 to 8 years - Less than 1,900 mg/day

9 to 13 years - Less than 2,200 mg/day

14 years and older - Less than 2,300 mg/day

The Nutrition Facts label can help you figure out how much sodium is in each serving of a food.food label

The nutrition information is based on the serving size. You must look at the serving size on the first line of the food label.  You will need to figure out the amount of sodium your child eats based on how much of the food they eat.

For the label on the right, if your child eats:
½ cup of the food, they get 300 mg sodium.
¼ cup of the food, they get 150 mg sodium.
1 cup of the food, they get 600 mg sodium.

Tips for eating less sodium:

Food category High sodium Lower sodium
Meat/protein Ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, lunchmeat, canned meats, salted nuts and nut butters, canned and smoked fish  Fresh meat and poultry, eggs, unsalted beans and legumes, unsalted nuts and nut butters, fresh fish, tuna packed in water 
Dairy Cottage cheese, American cheese, cream cheese, yellow aged cheeses, buttermilk Milk, yogurt, white cheese (Swiss, mozzarella)
Vegetables  Canned vegetables, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, frozen vegetables in sauce, salted fried vegetables, sauerkraut  Fresh or frozen vegetables, “no salt added” canned vegetables, unsalted French fries 
Fruits  None
All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits 
Boxed or frozen entrees or sides  Meat pizza, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, pizza rolls, pocket sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles, skillet meal kits, rice or pasta with seasoning mixes, soup, canned ravioli and spaghetti  Cheese pizza, homemade chicken nuggets, pasta or rice with salt-free seasoning (do not use seasoning packet in boxed meals),   
Grains and snacks  Instant hot cereal, salted popcorn and chips, salted crackers  Unsalted popcorn and snack chips, cooked hot cereal, cold cereal 
Seasoning, sauces and condiments  Soy sauce, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, steak sauce, MSG, marinade, gravy, pickles, olives  Jam, jelly, honey, butter, margarine, syrup, white and brown sugar, mayonnaise, fresh herbs and garlic 

Use the list below to make better choices in each food category:

Even small changes can be made to decrease sodium in your diet. The simple swaps shown below make a big difference. 

Higher sodium choice Sodium Lower sodium choice Sodium
Cheeseburger w/ ketchup and pickles 725 mg Hamburger w/ ketchup 490 mg
Pepperoni and sausage pizza slice 1710 mg Cheese pizza slice 590 mg
Bologna w/ American cheese sandwich 1260 mg Turkey Breast w/ swiss sandwich 670 mg


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.