Sodium and Fluid Restriction
Sodium restriction for children with renal failure
A low-sodium diet or salt restriction may be used to help prevent or reduce fluid retention in your child's body. The amount of sodium or salt allowed in your child's diet depends on your child's medical condition. Your child's doctor or dietitian will determine the amount of sodium allowed in your child's diet. This is usually expressed in milligrams (mg) per day. Some common sodium restrictions include 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 mg per day. With most sodium-restricted diets, high-sodium foods are limited and salt is not allowed in food preparation or at the table.
Foods high in sodium:
Canned foods (vegetables, meats, pasta meals)
Processed foods (meats such as bologna, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, sausage)
Dried pasta and rice mixes
Soups (canned and dried)
Snack foods (chips, popcorn, pretzels, cheese puffs, salted nuts)
Dips, sauces, and salad dressings
Foods low in sodium:
Plain breads, cereals, rice and pasta
Vegetables and fruits (fresh or frozen)
Meats (fresh cuts; not processed meats)
Milk and yogurt (these tend to be moderate in sodium)
Beverages such as juices, tea, fruit drink/punch, and soda, sports drinks have sodium so these may need to be limited
The following low-sodium seasonings may be used more freely than those that are high in sodium:
The following seasonings are high in sodium, but can be used in limited amounts.
Limit to 1 tablespoon per meal:
Low-calorie salad dressing
How to reduce your child's salt intake
The following recommendations may help to reduce the amount of salt in your child's diet:
Don't use salt in cooking or at the table.
Cook with herbs and spices or, if permitted by your child's doctor, use salt substitutes like Mrs. Dash, Nu-Salt, NoSalt, or Morton's Lite Salt.
Seasonings with the word "salt" in the name, like garlic salt, are high in sodium. When seasoning foods use fresh garlic or garlic powder, use onion powder instead of onion salt, and try celery seed rather than celery salt.
Eat home-prepared meals, using fresh ingredients, instead of canned, frozen, or packaged meals. When dining out, request dressings and sauces on the side. Ask the chef to hold the salt in food preparation.
Type of food
Foods to avoid
Milk, yogurt, cheese
Meat, fish, poultry
Starches, breads, cereals
Sample plan for 3,000 mg sodium restriction
Orange juice (1/2 cup)
Beef patty (3 oz)
Baked, breaded chicken strips, homemade (3 oz)
Oatmeal cookies (2)
Definitions for sodium claims on food labels
The food label reads
What this means
Less than 5 mg sodium per serving
Meets requirements for sodium-free
140 mg sodium or less per serving
Very low sodium
35 mg sodium or less per serving
At least 25 percent less sodium when compared to the same product without reduced sodium
Light in sodium
50 percent less sodium per serving when compared to foods with more than 40 calories per serving or more than 3 gm of fat per serving
Unsalted; no added salt; without added salt