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Sodium and Fluid Restriction

Sodium restriction for children with renal failure:

A low-sodium diet or salt restriction may be used to help prevent or reduce fluid retention in your child's body. The amount of sodium or salt allowed in your child's diet depends on your child's medical condition. Your child's physician or dietitian will determine the amount of sodium allowed in your child’s diet. This is usually expressed in milligrams (mg) per day. Some common sodium restrictions include 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 mg per day. With most sodium-restricted diets, high-sodium foods are limited and salt is not allowed in food preparation or at the table.

Foods high in sodium:

  • canned foods (vegetables, meats, pasta meals)
  • processed foods (meats such as bologna, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, sausage)
  • cheese
  • dried pasta and rice mixes
  • soups (canned and dried)
  • snack foods (chips, popcorn, pretzels, cheese puffs, salted nuts, etc.)
  • dips, sauces, and salad dressings

Foods low in sodium:

  • plain breads, cereals, rice and pasta
  • vegetables and fruits (fresh or frozen)
  • meats (fresh cuts; not processed meats)
  • milk and yogurt (these tend to be moderate in sodium)
  • beverages such as juices, tea, fruit drink/punch, and soda, sports drinks have sodium so these may need to be limited

Low-sodium seasonings:

The following low-sodium seasonings may be used freely:

allspice
bayleaf
basil
chili powder
chives
cinnamon
cloves
curry powder
dill
extracts (vanilla)
vinegar
garlic (fresh)
garlic powder
ginger
horseradish sauce
lemon juice
lime juice
mace
marjoram
dry mustard
nutmeg
Mrs. Dash®
onion (fresh)
onion powder
oregano
paprika
pepper
rosemary
sage
tarragon
thyme
Tabasco®

The following seasonings are high in sodium but can be used in limited amounts:

Limit to 1 tablespoon per meal:

  • barbecue sauce
  • cocktail sauce
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • hot sauce
  • low-calorie salad dressing
  • steak sauce

How can I help my child reduce his/her salt-intake?

The following recommendations may help to reduce the amount of salt in your child's diet:

  • Do not use salt in cooking or at the table.
  • Cook with herbs and spices or, if permitted by your child's physician, use salt substitutes like Mrs. Dash®, NuSalt®, NoSalt®, or Morton's Lite Salt® .
  • Seasonings with "salt" in the name, like garlic salt, are high in sodium. When seasoning foods use fresh garlic or garlic powder, use onion powder instead of onion salt, and try celery seed rather that celery salt.
  • Eat home prepared meals, using fresh ingredients, instead of canned, frozen, or packaged meals. When dining out, request dressings and sauces on the side. Ask the chef to hold the salt in food preparation.
Type of food

Allowed

Foods to Avoid

Milk, yogurt, cheese
  • whole, 2 percent, or skim milk
  • cottage cheese, regular hard cheeses, tofu
  • puddings, custards, ice cream
  • processed cheese, cheese spreads
Meat, fish, poultry
  • fresh or frozen meats, poultry, fish
  • low sodium canned tuna or salmon
  • dried beans and peas
  • soybean/vegetable protein
  • peanut butter
  • salted or canned meats, fish (sardines, herring, anchovies), or poultry
  • lunch meats (bologna, ham, corned beef)
  • cured meats (ham, bacon, sausage)
  • hot dogs, dried beef, jerky
  • commercially frozen entrees
  • Kosher-prepared meats
Fruits
  • fresh, frozen, or canned fruits, fruit juices
  • none
Vegetables
  • fresh, frozen, or low sodium canned vegetables
  • sauerkraut, salted or pickled vegetables
  • vegetables cooked with salted meats
  • regular vegetable juices
Starches, breads, cereals
  • potatoes, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, rice
  • unsalted potato chips, low sodium pretzels, unsalted crackers, unsalted popcorn, and nuts
  • whole grain and enriched breads
  • pancakes, muffins, french toast, waffles, biscuits, cookies, cakes
  • whole grain and enriched cooked or commercially prepared dry cereals
  • potato chips, slated snack foods or pretzels
  • commercially prepared rice and noodle mixes
  • salted breads, rolls and crackers
  • salted popcorn and nuts
Miscellaneous
  • chocolate, cocoa, horseradish, herbs and spices such as onion powder, fresh garlic, garlic powder, celery seed
  • flavorings such as vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco®
  • low sodium condiments and seasonings such as Mrs. Dash®, Nu-Salt®, Morton's Lite Salt®, NoSalt®
  • catsup, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, gravy (limit to 1 Tbsp/day)
  • low sodium canned soups, homemade soups
  • commercially prepared meat sauces
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • onion salt, garlic slat, celery salt, seasoned salt
  • olives, pickles
  • relish, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce®
  • dehydrated soup or bouillon, canned soups
Fats
  • butter, margarine, lard, shortening, vegetable oil, mayonnaise
  • salad dressing (limit 1 Tbsp/day)
  • salt pork, bacon fat, fat back
  • more than 1 Tbsp salad dressing/day

Sample plan for 3,000 mg sodium restriction:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
orange juice (1/2 cup)
dry cereal (1/2 cup)
toast (1 slice)
margarine (1 tsp)
jelly (1 Tbsp)
lowfat milk (1 cup)
beef patty (3 oz)
hamburger bun (1)
mustard (1 Tbsp)
ketchup (1 Tbsp)
sliced tomato and lettuce
lowfat milk (1 cup)
baked, breaded chicken strips, homemade (3 oz)
oven-baked french fries, homemade (1/2 cup)
green beans (1/2 cup)
dinner roll (1)
margarine (1 tsp)
apple juice (1 cup)
frozen yogurt (1/2 cup)
Morning snack Afternoon snack  
banana
cereal fruit bar
oatmeal cookies (2)
lemonade
 

Definitions for sodium claims on food labels:

The food label reads: What this means:
Sodium-free less than 5 mg sodium per serving
Salt-free meets requirements for sodium-free
Low sodium 140 mg sodium or less per serving
Very low sodium 35 mg sodium or less per serving
Reduced sodium at least 25 percent less sodium when compared to the same product without reduced sodium
Light in sodium 50 percent less sodium per serving when compared to foods with more than 40 calories per serving or more than 3 gm of fat per serving
Unsalted; no added salt; without added salt
  • no salt is added during processing
  • the product it resembles and substitutes for is normally processed with salt

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Genitourinary & Kidney Disorders

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