eating out on a low sodium diet

By tinman101 Latest Reply 2011-10-03 09:24:59 -0500
Started 2010-10-21 15:20:10 -0500

It is almost impossible to eat out on this diet. I checked the nutrition on several national known restraunts and found only three vegetables on the hold menu. Does anyone else have this problem?

24 replies

eatlowsodium 2011-09-30 17:27:24 -0500 Report

I actually did some serious research on 'relatively' low sodium restaurant meals. I can post the link to this info if the site moderator is ok with it. I am new here and don't want to be known as spammer or marketer :-)

tinman101 2011-09-30 18:43:31 -0500 Report

Post it , I would like to see it.

eatlowsodium 2011-10-03 09:21:10 -0500 Report

OK, here is the link to restaurants that serve 'relatively' low sodium meals:

My goal was to find meals that have the least sodium at popular chain restaurants, so I checked nutrition charts of all the restaurants listed at the linked page and found out which meals can be ordered to have a low sodium lunch or dinner.

Please let me know if you know others.
Thank you

bvconect 2011-01-25 11:17:15 -0600 Report

you can always ask for "no" seasonings at all and bring your own favorite mrs. dash spice!

tinman101 2011-01-25 18:19:35 -0600 Report

You can ask but most restraunt foods are already seasoned with marinaids or are prepackaged.

HeartHawk 2011-04-20 23:30:21 -0500 Report


Very true, much restaurant food today is pre-prepared to save time and cost. The best bet is to find restaurants htat still have hte ability to prepare on demand and patronize them. If we don't they will disappear for lack of business!


s8ntdeer 2011-06-08 16:15:09 -0500 Report

i can say as a Chef from the Restaurant business that they WILL NOT serve food with nothing on it no matter what you ask for. Think about it, you send out a dish with nothing on it, guest doesnt like it so they send it back. Then you have a re-cook…or, wait staff watches "most" customers impressing their friends to order special items only to watch the guests dose it with hot sauce, or heinz 57 or even salt…they really don't care about your diet. Even so called healthy option restaurants add things, depending on which cook or prep person is working. THEY WANT YOUR MONEY!
I lalways say this, restaurants are out to make money. Dieters are in the minority and even when people on special diets go out to eat, they are going to splurge and cheat. If you want healthy, organic, good for you food you have to go to the source and get it and cook it yourself. That is the only way to "know" what is in your food…including places like "whole paycheck (foods)"
Look at the organics growers association of NC, they are suing the Federal Gov't because of all the false advertising of Organic grown foods. Just a scam!

HeartHawk 2011-06-08 23:19:25 -0500 Report


LOL, like the guy who orders french fries with no salt at McDonalds then asks for two packages of salt! What ya gonna do? I agree - learning to cook for yourself is always a good idea!


GmaBobbye 2010-12-12 10:38:44 -0600 Report

While many of the fast food restaurants are now listing thewir nutritional values, very few of the 'sit down' sites do. As one of the former contributors suggested, some restaurants do identify 'heart safe' by a little icon by the food item andwill prepare food as requested.
Some years ago, I tasted sea salt. Personally, I feel it has a better taste and I am able to use less. I have noticed that many restaurants are using sea salt, now.
Also, request lemon wedges - this seems to enhance the flavor without adding salt. And, when ever possible, order grilled or broiled instead of fried.

s8ntdeer 2011-06-08 16:16:28 -0500 Report

Lemon works on the same spot on your tongue as salt does, and tricks your tongue into tasting salt. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of prepared foods just before serving and it works incredible!

HeartHawk 2010-12-07 00:33:59 -0600 Report


The key is to find establishments that cook to order. Even McDonalds will fry a special batch of french fries with no salt (not that french fries are particulalry healthy even without salt).

Ask if things like rice and vegetables can be steamed without salt (you'd be surprised all the innocent sounding foods where restaurants use salt). Heart healthy symbols mean nothing. Even chicken breasts are routinely pre-cooked in a salt broth befor broiling. You just have to ask (you ARE the customer). I routinely bring my own salad dressing to restuarants (yes, it is a hassle and I get weird looks, too bad, THEY can deal with it). Soups of any kind are always a salt disaster so stay away from these as well as standard fare at ethnic restaurants.

Low sodium is often set at less than 2400mg - and this is less than a teaspoon so it's not easy. Be proactive and always ask even if the waiter needs to make a special trip to the kitchen. Heck, have a glass of wine while you wait. I do!


s8ntdeer 2011-06-08 16:17:20 -0500 Report

The french fries are coated in a sugar/salt brine when frozen. So you get no added salt but still have salt.

brownbunny4340 2011-03-04 11:56:03 -0600 Report

Yes I agree with you. I have found out the IHOP and Denny's will cook your order without salt and the will even put the salad dressing on the side.

tinman101 2011-06-11 13:32:27 -0500 Report

I bet that neither one of these places cook from scratch. Most of the salt is already there when they start.

Canadiantiger 2010-10-22 13:34:10 -0500 Report

What do you consider to be "low sodium"?

eatlowsodium 2011-10-03 09:23:50 -0500 Report

For a healthy person that is NOT on a strict low sodium diet due to healthy conditions, it is less than 2,400 mgs of sodium per day. When I dine out, I try to limit my sodium intake to around 800 mgs (which is not an easy task!), so three times 800 (three meals a day) is 2,400!

tinman101 2010-10-22 14:54:19 -0500 Report

less than1500 mg per day. most resturants main course have more than 1500mg in one dish, some have almost 2 times in the one dish.

Canadiantiger 2010-10-22 15:37:10 -0500 Report

I try to stick to a maximum of 1000 mg. of sodium per day. AS a result, 95% of what I eat I cook from "scratch". Regarding dining out, I would try dim sum and choose items that are steamed not "fried".

Even eating at home, nothing comes out of a can, except maybe tuna occasionally. Everything is fresh (even frozen vegetables have sodium).

There are some Chinese food resturants that serve dishes that are "light" - on the sodium, fat, calories, sugar and so on.

I have also taken many of my favorite dishes from dining out and made a low sodium version using fresh ingredients. It is difficult to dine out when you are on a low sodium regime. I always ask for sauces on the side, a salad instead of fries, asking that salt not be added to anything and even in the cooking, that they not add salt or "seasoning" which usually contains a lot of salt.

Do you have "Subways" in your town? One sandwich has at least 1,500 mg . of sodium.

Canadiantiger 2010-10-22 22:35:09 -0500 Report

Most of them have 1,200 to 1,500 mg. of sodium depending on the size that you purchase.

It is hard to eliminate it with all of the processed meats used (high in sodium), cheeses (very high in sodium), then the condiments. They are not a healthy choice at all. One sandwich is more than I allow myself for a day of eating!

KimberAnne1222 2011-03-08 06:48:55 -0600 Report

I agree, in the condiments 2 of them with way too much salt is banana peppers and pickles, then u have olives high in salt. Then they try to add salt at the end. Salads from there r what I usually get, but the only thing I get on it is tomatoes, then oil and vinegar for the dressing. Not much of a salad I guess, but cant be choosy when ur on a diet :(~

s8ntdeer 2011-06-08 16:21:13 -0500 Report

also salt in the bread. And on top of the bread. You have got to read labels and do research and learn the label vocabulary. It is all a big scam to trick the buyers out of their money. We actually do classes on this exact subject…there are 13 different terms for salt injection that are approved to be used on labels including "natural flavorings!"
80% of fish is labeled incorrectly that is being sold in grocery stores and the serving size trickery is juts sickening!

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