Seasoning the Low Sodium Way

By DaVita dietitian Lynn, RD, LD, from Minnesota.

Limiting sodium in your renal diet can help control your blood pressure and reduce the amount of fluid your body retains. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are advised to limit the amount of sodium in their diet.

Most kidney patients need to reduce sodium intake to 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams daily. The exact amount is determined for each individual based on their blood pressure, urine output, fluid retention and diagnosis. For example, a person with stage 5 CKD who is on hemodialysis, with no urine output and high blood pressure would require a lower range of sodium in their diet. A person with stage 3 or 4 CKD who still makes urine, has controlled blood pressure without fluid retention would have the higher range of sodium in their diet.

Fast foods, canned foods, packaged meats and salted snack foods (such as chips and crackers) are obvious sources of extra sodium in the diet. There are also hidden sources we tend to overlook such as the dressings, sauces and seasonings used in preparing foods that can add a lot of sodium. For example, one tablespoon of Italian salad dressing can contain 245 mg of sodium (and most of us use more than a tablespoon on our salad). Seasoning packets for convenience foods, such as rice dishes, can contribute 1,000 mg of sodium or more per half-cup serving. Seasoning packets for taco meat contain 2,100-3,360 mg of sodium. That translates to 350 to 560 mg sodium for each taco. This adds up fast if you are trying to stay within a daily limit of 2,000 to 3,000 mg of sodium. Some simple changes to favorite recipes can help you decrease the amount of sodium in your home cooking.

There’s no need to eat bland foods

You can still have the flavor without so much sodium. By making your own dressings, marinades and seasonings to take the place of the high-sodium, store-bought versions, you can control how much sodium you get.

Here are easy recipes to help spice up your next meal: