Sodium Reduction Strategies


This is the use of different methods of cooking to develop recipes that are lower in sodium but still well received by the customer. This may include strategies to limit salt (such as outfitting cooks to follow recipes, precise measurement, and not engaging in “free salting”), using other ingredients or methods to enhance flavor, and even scratch cooking — preparing foods using basic ingredients rather than using prepackaged items. Some examples include:

  • Replacing salt in recipes with more herbs, spices, and fresh garnishes
  • Making scratch marinades or dressings, allowing for the amount of salt to be controlled
  • Using techniques such as roasting, searing, and sautéing instead of frying food to avoid the salt and fat that can come from the oil and coating 


Product replacement involves identifying ingredients and foods that contribute to the sodium content of meals or dishes and identifying lower-sodium alternatives in order to reduce overall sodium content without compromising flavor. This is often achieved by assessing pantries, dishes, and recipes for sources of high sodium and replacing them with lower sodium options, such as low-sodium beans, soup stock, and tomato-based products.


Managing portion sizes is not only a good sodium reduction strategy, but can contribute to healthy eating overall by ensuring that consumers are eating recommended portions and not consuming more calories and other nutrients than recommended.

Examples of portion size modifications to reduce sodium include:

  • Using smaller/thinner sliced breads or sandwich buns to cut back on sodium
  • Requiring portion-controlled items in the kitchen, such as using limited amounts of higher sodium cheeses and cured meats and using more naturally low-sodium foods like fruits and vegetables to fill the plate without adding sodium
  • Offering menu items that can be higher in sodium in smaller bowls, on smaller plates, or pre-portioned, such as dressing packages
  • Ensuring kitchen staff measures ingredients used and food served, such as utilizing measuring spoons and cups to both prepare recipes and plate food

For more sodium reduction strategies and supporting resources, check out Partnering with Food Service to Reduce Sodium: A Toolkit for Public Health Practitioners.