Food & Nutrition

13 Foods with Way More Salt than You Realized

What do instant oatmeal, cookies, and canned veggies have in common? They are all foods high in sodium—and you probably didn’t know they were.

Cottage cheese


Cottage cheese with fruit is an old lunchtime favorite, packed with protein and calcium. But if you’re aiming to lower your sodium, you might want to skip these creamy curds, as they’re actually foods high in sodium. Cottage cheese has at least 400 mg of sodium per half cup. For a tasty substitute, try Greek yogurt. You’ll get more protein, calcium, vitamin D, and as a bonus, some good-for-your-gut probiotics. Most Greek yogurts weigh in at only 70 mg of sodium per half cup. Greek yogurt can be part of one these healthy high-protein breakfasts you’ll want to start eating.

Instant oatmeal

iStock/Christopher Stokey

Instant oatmeal is a popular option for the morning rush, especially in winter. Just add hot water and you have a warm and nutritious bowl of goodness, right? Not necessarily, says Paul Salter, MS, RD, nutrition editor for “Take charge of your sodium intake and spend an extra couple of minutes each morning with a serving of old-fashioned oats rather than relying on instant oatmeal,” Salter says. Instant oatmeal packs in as much as 200 mg per serving compared to zero sodium in plain oats. If plain oatmeal sounds blah, try topping it with berries, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon. Get more ideas for tasty oatmeal toppings you might never have thought to try.

Sports drinks

iStock/Tom Young

Even after a heavy-duty sweat session at the gym, you probably don’t need a sports drink to replace your sodium stores. “Those beverages are created for athletes training at a high level for an extended period,” says Alysha Coughler, RD, of Water, coconut water, or maple water will quench your thirst and keep you within your daily sodium budget. Here are some surprising reasons you’re always thirsty. (Yes, eating foods high in sodium is one of them!)

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