16 High Sodium Foods to Know About

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for sodium in adults is 2,300 mg/day. For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a lower sodium intake of under 2,000 mg/day is recommended—though only your doctor can tell you what's right for you. On average, the daily sodium intake for Americans is about 3,400 mg/day, and you may be consuming much more than you even realize. To help protect your health, it's important to become aware of your salt intake and to focus on choosing low sodium foods, while limiting foods high in sodium.

The effects of too much sodium

Sodium intake can have a big impact on your health, especially if you're living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Too much sodium contributes to fluid buildup, which can cause high blood pressure and stress on your body. People with kidney disease are already at risk for fluid buildup, known as hypervolemia, because their kidneys aren't working well enough to eliminate excess fluids as efficiently as healthy kidneys would. Eating too much salt can make fluid retention worse.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to help manage your salt and fluids. One big step is learning which high sodium foods to watch out for-and which low sodium foods to choose instead.

HOW TO LIMIT HIGH SODIUM FOODS

Get easy tips for choosing low- or no-sodium foods to help you stay your healthiest. See how to shake off the salt.

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What foods are high in sodium?

  1. CONDIMENTS

    varies from 150–900 mg per serving

    Ketchup and barbecue sauce can add over 150 mg per tablespoon. Soy sauce can add a whopping 900 mg of sodium per tablespoon.

  2. TOMATO SAUCE

    400 mg per ¼ cup serving

    Tomato sauce can make an otherwise healthy dish high in sodium—it shows up in pastas, pizzas, soups and more.

  3. SEASONINGS

    varies, up to 690 mg per serving

    Some seasoning blends incorporate salt where you might not expect it, like Cajun spices or ramen seasonings.

  4. CANNED VEGETABLES

    varies, up to 300 mg per ½ cup serving

    Some canned vegetables are packed with salt. Be sure to choose “no added salt” options.

  5. VEGETABLE JUICE

    varies, up to 440 mg per ¼ cup serving

    Drinking your vegetables can be very high in sodium. Look for low sodium options instead.

  6. PICKLES

    785 mg in a medium pickle

    Pickles are made by preserving vegetables in brine, which is a salt solution—making them a very high-sodium food.

  7. MOST BREAKFAST CEREALS

    varies, around 220 mg or more per 1 cup serving

    Even “healthy” options can have as much as 580 mg in a cup. Read food labels to find low sodium options.

  8. PANCAKES

    varies, 400–2,000 mg per serving

    Making your own pancakes at home from scratch or a low sodium mix can help you control the salt.

  1. COTTAGE CHEESE

    800–1,000 mg or more per 1 cup serving

    Cottage cheese is a low-calorie, high-protein food. It can also be high in sodium, so pick a low sodium option.

  2. PROCESSED CHEESES

    270 mg per 1 oz slice

    A slice of American cheese has lots of sodium. Mozzarella or Monterey Jack are lower sodium options.

  3. DELI MEATS, SAUSAGES AND HOT DOGS

    500–1,000 mg per 2 oz serving

    Processed meats can contain lots of salt, plus preservatives that also contain sodium. Look for “no salt added” or “lower sodium” options. 

  4. FROZEN SHRIMP

    up to 800 mg per 3 oz serving

    Buy fresh shrimp if you can or check labels to avoid frozen shrimp with added salt or sodium.

  5. SOUP

    varies, up to 800 mg per cup

    Try low sodium varieties to make your own soup at home with low sodium broth.

  6. PIZZA

    varies, 500–800 mg or more per slice

    Pizza combines several potentially high sodium foods—tomato sauce, cheese and sausage or pepperoni. Choose fresh veggie toppings instead.

  7. SANDWICHES

    varies, up to 2,325 mg or more

    Cured meats and condiments add up to too much sodium. Opt for low sodium meats, cheeses and fresh veggies.

  8. PREPACKAGED FROZEN DINNERS

    varies, up to 1,300 mg per dinner

    Be sure to read food labels and compare options, so you can make healthy choices.

READ THE LABEL

Look for foods that contain less than 10% of the recommended daily value for sodium.

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