Kidney Diet Tips

Please pass over the salt


iStock_000000597146Small-Salt Shaker PassFollowing a low-sodium diet would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable all the time. Enjoying the convenience of packaged foods and prepared meals as well as the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant means you really don’t know how much sodium is in the food you consume. One of the easiest ways to cut down on sodium intake is to pass up using table salt. It may take some getting used to, especially if it’s been a lifelong habit to add salt to foods—sometimes even without tasting first. Always check the sodium content on food packaging and choose the lowest sodium options. Even foods that don’t taste salty can contain a fair amount of sodium. Keep in mind that nutrition labels will show the sodium amount for one serving. If you eat more than one serving, you will need to do the math to figure out how much sodium you’re really eating. Avoiding foods that are obviously high in sodium, such as canned meats, deli meats, processed cheese, canned soups, chips and other salty foods is another way to pass on salt. Avoiding and limiting salt doesn’t mean you can never have a salty treat. Just make sure your other meals are very low in sodium to make up for a salty “cheat”.

To learn more about your sodium intake, use the Nutrition Tracker feature in DaVita Diet Helper to track your food and see how much sodium in your meals and snacks.

Resources from

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.