How Much Sodium Is in Your Breakfast?

by Nancy Clarke
Fresh fruit is a healthy, low sodium breakfast choice.

Fresh fruit is a healthy, low sodium breakfast choice.

The sodium in breakfast foods typically comes from salt used in commercial processing or from salt added during home cooking. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average American adult and child eat 1-1/2 tbsp. of salt per day. Even good-for-you breakfast foods such as fortified cereal contribute sodium to your family's diets. Instead of trying to eliminate sodium, serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

How Much Is Too Much?

Your family members need some sodium in their diet for metabolic purposes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg of sodium per day or less a safe range for kids and adults. To stay within that boundary, eat fewer cured meats and fish, less cheese and less fast food, which all tend to have lots of added salt.

Low-Sodium Breakfast Foods

Look for less processed foods with the greatest vitamin and mineral density to make the most nutritious, low-sodium breakfasts for your family. Foods with under 50 mg of sodium per suggested serving include some unflavored regular and instant oatmeals, shredded wheat cereal and any fruit, fruit jam or fruit juice. Breakfast ingredients with 50 to 100 mg of sodium include cream cheese and granola bars. Sodium contents of 100 to 200 mg are found in most breads, frozen waffles, ready-to-eat cereals, pork sausage, milk and yogurt.

High-Sodium Breakfast Foods

Serve high-sodium foods less often. Ham, Canadian bacon, pork bacon and turkey bacon may have over 1,000 mg of sodium per suggested serving. Beware of vegetable juice, which contains over 650 mg of sodium per 1 cup. Avoid biscuit and croissant breakfast sandwiches at the drive-through. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these fast foods may have more than 1,200 mg of sodium. Adding an order of hash browns increases your daily sodium total by 370 mg.

Tips for Cutting Sodium at Breakfast Time

Help your family to make wise choices to limit sodium intake in the morning. Serve 100% fruit juice instead of milk alongside yogurt and eggs with toast or fruit instead of with bacon or sausage. Encourage your kids to prefer whole grain toast and sugar free jam over commercial Danish pastries, and to use smaller 1 tsp. servings of margarine or unsalted butter. Compare cereal labels in the store and buy those with less sodium. Remove the salt shaker from the table and use salt sparingly when cooking.

About the Author

Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.

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