What Can One Eat at a Restaurant on a Low Sodium Diet?

Your body only really needs 200 milligrams of sodium from your diet every day to function properly. Most people get at least 3,000 milligrams daily. Too much sodium in your diet can cause water retention and high blood pressure, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Limit your daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams, recommends the American Heart Association, by ditching the salt shaker, avoiding processed foods and making smart choices when you dine out.

Your Pre-Meal Game

Skip the bread and soup, which are both responsible for a large portion of America's salt intake, according to the AHA. Opt for fresh vegetable sticks or chopped fruit. Fruits and veggies are good sources of potassium, which helps to counteract the harmful effects of a high-sodium diet. Potassium helps your body excrete excess sodium and relax blood vessels to lower your blood pressure, states the AHA.

Edible Entrées

Ask your server to have the chef prepare your entrée without added salt. If you're craving pasta, request that no salt be added to the boiling water. Opt for olive oil and fresh steamed veggies instead of salt-laden marinara sauce. Choose baked or broiled chicken, beef or fish without salt, and add lemon or pepper yourself. If salad is your main course, get the dressing on the side and use it sparingly, or drizzle olive oil and vinegar or lemon over your greens.

A Side of Healthy

Order unsalted, steamed vegetables or a plain baked potato to accompany your meal. A small baked potato contains nearly 800 milligrams of heart-healthy potassium. If you must have french fries, request a smaller portion and that they come unsalted.

Sweet Nothings

Play it safe with fresh fruit or frozen treats, like sorbet, sherbet or frozen yogurt for dessert, recommends California Pacific Medical Center. Baked goods such as cake, pie and donuts can be high in sodium.

Tricks of the Trade

Know before you go. Most chain restaurants offer online nutrition information for their dishes. Do your research ahead of time to find out which meals are lower in sodium. If the food you're craving could blow your sodium limit for the day, eat a smaller portion and fill up on lower-sodium sides.