By AHA Sodium Reduction Initiative Team | 30 Mar 2017

This week, the CDC released their most recent information on the top 25 foods add the most sodium to the American diet.

It reminds us that even food that even foods that don’t look salty can have more sodium than you think! With about three-quarters of the sodium that Americans eat coming from prepackaged, prepared, and restaurant foods, it’s important to keep your eye out for sneaky sodium.

Sneaky Sodium Can Come from these Common Foods

Here are the top 25 foods that contribute the most sodium to American’s diets. For American adults (age 20 years and older), we’ve put the top 6 into a graphic so that you can get a closer look at the Salty 6. These are the foods that Americans eat that add the most sodium to the American diet. And for those aged 2 years and up, we have the salty six for kids.

  1. Yeast breads
  2. Pizza
  3. All single code sandwiches
  4. Cold cuts and cured meats
  5. Burritos and tacos
  6. Soups
  7. All savory snacks
  8. Chicken, whole pieces
  9. Cheese
  10. Eggs and omelets
  11. Pasta mixed dishes (except for macaroni and cheese)
  12. Meat mixed dishes
  13. Bacon, frankfurters, and sausages (like hot dogs)
  14. Other Mexican mixed dishes
  15. Tomato-based condiments (think: ketchup)
  16. Salad dressings and vegetable oils
  17. Poultry mixed dishes
  18. All plain milk
  19. All ready-to-eat cereal
  20. Mashed potatoes and white potato mixtures
  21. Fish
  22. French fries and other fried white potatoes
  23. Cakes and pies
  24. Other vegetables and combinations
  25. Rice

While this list is useful to know it doesn’t mean you must avoid all of these foods. Instead, follow these five tips to help you select the foods with the least amount of sodium. Remember: starting small can make a big difference!

  1. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy and eat clean.
  2. Fill your foods with flavor and color. Replace some meats, cheeses, and condiments with colorful fruits and vegetables (or, you can make your own condiments).
  3. Read nutrition labels. Sodium levels can vary a lot, even among similar types of foods. Compare similar foods and choose the items with the lowest amount of sodium.
  4. Pay attention to sodium when you go out to eat. You can watch for these 10 words on restaurant menus when you order.
  5. Eat smaller portions. When you cut the amount of food you eat, you usually cut sodium too.

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