21 Best Low-Sodium Fast Food Orders
										If you're following a low-sodium diet, you can still hit up the drive-thru—if you know what to order.

21 Best Low-Sodium Fast Food Orders If you're following a low-sodium diet, you can still hit up the drive-thru—if you know what to order.

There are many reasons you may want to consider reducing your sodium intake, especially if you have high blood pressure. Truth be told, the fast-food counter probably isn’t the best place to start, and it certainly doesn’t deserve a regular spot in your healthy eating rotation. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid the drive-thru altogether—as long as you know what to order. We reached out to nutrition experts and registered dietitians to compile a list of 21 low-sodium fast-food orders, so you can stick to your heart-healthy diet even when McDonald’s and Taco Bell are the only options.

According to the FDA,The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day for people 14 years and older; and even less for those 13 years and younger.” However, if you know you have a propensity for high blood pressure or are among the 116 million Americans living with hypertension, you may want to cut back on your sodium even more, especially if your healthcare provider has recommended it.

“The FDA considers a food product ‘low-sodium’ if it contains 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving; however, it isn’t realistic for fast-food entrées to go that low,” advises Ysabel Montemayor, MS, RD.

What are the best low-sodium fast food orders?

That comes out to 460 milligrams of sodium per serving.

It’s particularly important that those with high blood pressure, hypernatremia, hypertension, and/or heart failure pay attention to their sodium intake. People with kidney disease should also be mindful of sodium, as over-consuming the nutrient can put additional strain on your kidneys. Above all, stick to your doctor’s guidelines.

Even if you aren’t currently experiencing any of these health issues, it can also be beneficial to reduce your sodium intake.

Most Americans significantly overshoot the FDA’s sodium guidelines. In fact, the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium every day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA notes that “cutting back just 1,000 milligrams of sodium a day can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.” (In fact, the AHA recommends an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.) And there is more than enough opportunity to make that thousand-calorie cut when you pull up to the drive-thru, where orders of burgers and fries easily climb upwards of 3,000 milligrams of sodium.

Of course, we all crave fast food from time to time. Barring serious medical conditions, if you’re traveling, in a hangry SOS-mode, or just craving a break from the slow-cooker, here are the 21 best low-sodium fast food finds that dietitians recommend.

You might assume that sodium-conscious takeout Chinese food does not exist, considering the amount of salt and other sodium-infused ingredients like MSG that can be found in many dishes. But actually, Panda Express offers some tasty dishes that are relatively low-sodium.

“Surprisingly, the Panda Express Sweet & Sour Chicken is a relatively low sodium option at 260 milligrams of sodium per serving,” Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES, tells Eat This, Not That! “It contains only 300 calories per serving, making it a weight-loss friendly option, too.”

“However, since it does contain a higher amount of sugar, 24 grams per serving,” she adds. “It is not something I would recommend choosing regularly, [but] consider it a treat that won’t raise your blood pressure!”

“A four-piece chicken McNugget [order] from Mcdonald’s will have 330mg of sodium,” says Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, a gut health nutritionist based in Long Beach, CA. Though this choice may not be as filling as a full meal, Sauceda says it can make for a hearty, protein-rich bite to tide you over till your next meal. “I would choose this if I needed a snack because the nuggets will give you some protein which will help you feel full,” she says.

“Starbucks’ Strawberry Overnight Grains is an excellent grab-and-go breakfast option that contains just 15 milligrams of sodium,” says Catherine Karnatz, RD, a registered dietitian based in Hampton, VA. “Packed with steel-cut oats, quinoa, almonds, and chia seeds, this menu item provides 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and an ample amount of energy to get your day started on the right track.

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