Top 10 Sources of Sodium

More than 40% of the sodium we eat each day comes from only 10 types of food. Many people are surprised to learn which foods are on the list because the foods do not always taste salty.

How does your sandwhich stack up on sodium? Top slice of bread can contain 200mg of sodium. 1 teaspoon of mustard can contain 120mg of sodium. 1 leaf of lettuce can contain 2mg of sodium. 1 slice of cheese can contain 310mg of sodium. 6 thin slices of turkey can contain 690mg of sodium. The bottom slice of bread can contain another 200mg of sodium. All of that adds up to 1,522mg of sodium in an entire sandwich.

Top Sources of Sodium1

  • Breads and rolls
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Soups
  • Burritos and tacos
  • Savory snacks*
  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Eggs and Omelets

*Chips, popcorn, pretzels, snack mixes, and crackers

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day as part of a healthy eating pattern.

Knowing which foods are the biggest contributors to sodium in your diet is an important step in reducing daily sodium intake to a healthy level. To figure out the amount of sodium in a food, check the Nutrition Facts label, which lists sodium content per serving. Sodium content is listed in milligrams (mg).

Sodium adds up quickly in our daily diet. The sample diet includes Breakfast: Egg and cheese sandwich, 760mg of sodium. Orange juice, 1 cup, 5mg of sodium. Coffee, 1 cup, 5mg of sodium. Snack: Banana, medium, 1mg of sodium. Lunch: Vegetable soup and half of a sandwich combo, 1,450mg of sodium. Iced tea, 1 cup unsweetened, 10mg of sodium. Snack: Chips, plain, 140mg of sodium. Dinner: Spaghetti (without added salt) with meat sauce (1.5 cup pasta, 3/4 cup sauce, 3 oz meat), 380mg of sodium. Garden salad with ranch dressing, 340mg of sodium. Water, 1 cup, 10mg of sodium. Snack: 2 chocolate chip cookies, 70mg of sodium. Skim milk, 1 cup, 100mg of sodium. Total mg of sodium in sample diet: 3,271.

Sodium Adds Up Quickly

Here is a sample diet of 3 meals and 3 small snacks, providing a total sodium content of more than 3,200 mg. That’s much higher than the levels recommended in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon.2


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. What We Eat in America pdf icon[PDF-64K]external icon. NHANES 2013-2014. Agricultural Research Service Website.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25, and current manufacturers’ data. Values greater than 10 mg of sodium were rounded to the nearest 10 mg.