LiveWell with Traditions Navigating a Low Sodium Lifestyle

Navigating a Low Sodium Lifestyle: Dietitian Tips for Kidney-Friendly Meals

Erin Dixon

Registered Dietitian

For seniors with certain health conditions (such as kidney or heart disease), there are many benefits to choosing low-sodium foods. If you’re looking for foods that support kidney function, you’re in luck—lots of delicious foods fit into this category! 

Registered dietitian Erin Dixon offers the following information about sodium in foods and kidney disease management.

What are some low-sodium food options for supporting kidney function?

Incorporating these foods can support the management of kidney disease and support kidney function. Always consult your healthcare team before making changes to your diet.

  • Fresh or frozen fruits – apples, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, and grapes are excellent choices
  • Animal proteins – fish, roasted chicken, lean beef
  • Tofu
  • Healthy oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables – there are many good options such as asparagus, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, okra, peppers (red and green), and turnips 
  • Legumes (beans and peas) – be sure to rinse canned beans and vegetables before eating
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese; fortified soy beverages

NUTRITION TIPS: It’s important to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and monitor fluid intake as directed by your healthcare team. 

Which foods should people with kidney disease reduce?

Individuals living with kidney disease should reduce their intake of foods that are high in sodium. Examples of these are:

  • Smoked and processed meats
  • Cheeses
  • High-sodium canned soups (opt for low-sodium versions of favorite canned soups)
  • Processed and canned foods (rinse canned vegetables before eating them)
  • Salty snacks
  • Prepackaged baked goods
  • Certain condiments such as mustard and soy sauce

Consuming these foods in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle. A good guideline is to keep your total sodium consumption to less than 1,500 mg per day to prioritize optimal kidney function. Ask your doctor or healthcare professional what your sodium goal should be. Read food labels closely to see how much sodium they contain, and track your daily sodium consumption. 

NUTRITION TIP: To support good kidney function, individuals should also limit the consumption of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as well as foods high in potassium and phosphorus. Your healthcare provider will make recommendations based on your condition.

Why is reducing sodium intake important for people with chronic kidney disease?

As vital organs, our kidneys perform critical functions for our overall health, including filtering out excess sodium that can harm the body. Chronic sodium consumption can cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and coronary artery disease (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). In addition, consuming a high-sodium diet can lead to excessive fluid intake for people on kidney dialysis. (Ikizler, 2020; EAL, 2020).

“Understanding the impact of sodium on the kidneys is crucial, especially for individuals with renal conditions. It’s not just about avoiding foods traditionally high in sodium; it’s about embracing a holistic approach to nutrition that supports kidney function. Incorporating a variety of kidney-friendly foods while consciously limiting sodium intake can significantly improve overall health. Remember, moderation and balance are key. Our goal should always be to nourish our bodies in a way that supports all its functions, particularly our kidneys, which play a vital role in filtering and detoxifying.” 

– Erin Dixon, registered dietitian.

How to support kidney disease management

For older adults living with kidney disease, focusing on whole and low-sodium foods can help slow its progression. If you dine out, ask that no salt be added, and choose fresh steamed vegetables (instead of fried or heavily sauced). 

At home, opt for low-sodium versions of canned soups. Substituting fresh squeezed lemon or olive oil and vinegar for bottled salad dressings is a good way to lower sodium intake, as is using salt-free spices and herbs in place of table salt for added flavor.

Choose water to drink and remember, it is important to stay within your fluid allowance. Some great options for enhancing your water intake are home-brewed teas, adding lemon juice, and adding a splash of 100% fruit juice to sparkling water. 

NUTRITION TIPS: Work closely with your healthcare provider and registered dietitian to determine the amounts of fluid, protein, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus you should be consuming. You’ll find more guidance about supporting kidney disease management at and  

Kidney-friendly meals from LiveWell with Traditions

At LiveWell with Traditions, we know that reducing your sodium intake is one of the best things you can do for your overall health; it’s why our registered dietitians develop nutritious kidney-friendly meals that are lower in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus for individuals with kidney disease. 

Not only is a low-sodium diet important for kidney disease management; reducing sodium intake is good for your heart health as well. We invite you to learn more about the benefits of choosing a low-sodium diet on this blog post, Changing Your Salty Ways: Heart Healthy Tips from a Dietitian.


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