5 Ways to Limit Sodium Without Limiting Flavor

Limit sodium. It's a marching order you can expect to hear from your doctor or nutritionist when you're on dialysis.

But if you're used to adding salt to foods, or consuming the average 3,400 mg of sodium per day, you'll need to cut back to protect your health.

By how much? The U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to 1,500 mg a day if you have chronic kidney disease.

Does that mean you have to settle for bland and boring food? No. Salt/sodium does help bring out the flavors in food. But it's not the only seasoning or food choice that can keep your taste buds happy.

  • 1. Replace salt and salt seasonings

    with freshly chopped garlic or onion, or in powder form. Try black pepper, lemon juice, and low-sodium seasonings. Even vinegar can bring out the flavors of food similar to salt.

  • 2. Replace high-sodium seasonings

    like barbecue sauce, steak sauce, and soy sauce, with low-sodium versions. Low-sodium salad dressings are available, too.

  • 3. Replace salty foods

    with no-salt added options for popcorn, pretzels, chips, and crackers

  • 4. Replace cured foods

    with fresh beef, veal, pork, fish, and eggs. And if you eat cold cuts, choose low-sodium options from the deli.

  • 5. Replace processed foods

    with homemade foods. For most people, too much sodium typically comes from eating more processed foods made with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and added sodium. You don't have to look far to find processed foods that contain 1,200 mg of sodium in a single serving. Fortunately, there's an easy fix. Eat more foods made from fresh ingredients.

Limiting sodium when you’re on dialysis is critical to your health. Without functioning kidneys, too much sodium in your diet can cause:

  • Swollen ankles
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Build-up of fluids that interfere with the heart and lungs
  • Excessive thirst
  • Pain during dialysis treatments

Low-Sodium Dieting for Dialysis Patients Made Easy

When you're on a low-sodium diet to manage kidney disease, you have to be a lot more selective about what you eat, especially when it comes to processed foods and restaurants.

The easiest way to limit sodium is to cook at home more often using fresh ingredients. But if you don't have time, or you just don't like to cook, check out the selection of Dialysis-Friendly meals all made from fresh ingredients, and low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.