High sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease, stroke or kidney disease. Although the recommended daily sodium intake ranges from 1,000 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams, you should aim for the middle or lower end of this range if you have high blood pressure or related problems. The sample menus below fall into the middle of that range.
Keeping Tabs on Your Sodium Intake
Your doctor can help you set a daily sodium intake that is tailor-fit for your specific health needs. Once you know what your daily limit should be, closely monitor the amount of salt you're consuming. Check the nutrition labels on all the canned, processed and frozen foods that you consume.
Developed by the National Institutes of Health and widely advocated by other health organizations, including the American Heart Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet makes reduction of daily sodium intake one of its primary goals. This diet sets good guidelines for anyone who wants to cut sodium intake sharply.
Meal and Snack Menus
Create daily menus that will fit into your low-sodium diet.
A typical breakfast might include a cup of coffee, two tablespoons of peanut butter on a whole-wheat bagel, a cup of skim milk and an orange. Lunch could consist of a cup of skim milk, 12 reduced-sodium wheat crackers, a spinach salad made with four cups of fresh spinach leaves torn into bite-size pieces, a quarter-cup of unsalted peanuts, a sliced pear, a half-cup of canned mandarin orange segments and two tablespoons of reduced-fat red wine vinaigrette. For a snack that can be enjoyed any time of the day, try a cup of light yogurt and four vanilla wafers. Your dinner entrée could be a 3-ounce serving of herb-crusted baked cod, accompanied by one-third of a cup of brown rice pilaf, a half-cup of steamed green beans, a sourdough roll with a teaspoon of trans fat-free margarine, a cup of fresh berries with a sprig of mint and a glass of herbal iced tea. This sample diet contains 1,786 milligrams of sodium, putting it a bit over midway in the daily recommended range of 1,000 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams.
Another day could start with a cup of fresh mixed fruit, a bran muffin, a cup of skim milk and herbal tea. Lunch would be a curried chicken wrap, eight baby carrots, an ounce of dry roasted almonds, a nectarine and a cup of skim milk. For dinner, have baked macaroni, three cups of mixed greens, low-fat dressing, a whole wheat roll and a frozen fruit bar. For a snack, mix up some trail mix with raisins, unsalted pretzels and sunflower seeds.