If you’re following a low-sodium diet as part of a heart-healthy eating plan or just want to follow a general healthy eating pattern, it might feel like you can never eat out again. That’s because restaurant food is notoriously higher in sodium than foods you may prepare at home by yourself because of the addition of extra seasonings, sauces, and marinades, with some meals contributing up to 4,000 milligrams of sodium or more. To put that into perspective, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.

Diets high in sodium are associated with high blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke and can also affect other parts of your body, like your kidneys and your brain.

Thankfully, even at restaurants with the unhealthiest menu options, there are low-sodium orders you can enjoy. We worked with a team of registered dietitians to look at the menus of 25 national restaurant chains to find the best low-sodium order from each.

How much sodium is low-sodium?

The FDA defines the term “low sodium” as 140 milligrams of sodium or less for packaged foods, but there is no formal guidance as to what is considered “low sodium” at restaurants.

To put together this list of low-sodium restaurant chain meals, we limited entrees to a third of the daily recommended limit of sodium and sides to 20% of the daily limit. That came out to 760 milligrams of sodium for an entree and 460 milligrams of sodium for an individual item.

The 25 best low-sodium restaurant orders

Chili’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Chili's Santa Fe Chicken Salad with Chicken
Chili’s

Nutrition (Per serving): 550 calories, 39 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (7 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 30 g protein

The Santa Fe Chicken Salad at Chili’s has 650 milligrams of sodium in a bowl, and is loaded with spicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and tortilla strips for a good balance of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein, explains Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT, owner of One Pot Wellness.  Asking for the ranch and Santa Fe sauce on the side can also help you take more control over how much sodium (and fat) you add to the salad.

Olive Garden Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Lunch-size)

Olive Garden Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Olive Garden

Nutrition (Per lunch-sized order): 360 calories,12  g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 530 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 14 g protein

The lunch menu’s spaghetti with meat sauce is one of the few lower-sodium options at Olive Garden. Each serving has the pasta and tomato-based meat sauce you love but with only 530 milligrams of sodium, or 23% of the recommended daily value (DV).

Ruby Tuesday Loaded Baked Potato (without bacon)

ruby tuesday loaded baked potato
Ruby Tuesday/Facebook

Nutrition (Per serving): 490 calories, 24 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (6 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 15 g protein

The Loaded Baked Potato at Ruby Tuesday fits into a low-sodium diet as long as you skip the bacon on top. A baked potato topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, whipped butter, and scallions has just 420 milligrams of sodium and 15 grams of protein.

TGI Fridays Seasoned Fries

TGI Fridays Seasoned Fries
TGI Fridays

Nutrition (Per side): 230 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

French fries can be loaded with sodium, but the seasoned fries at TGI Fridays are surprisingly one of the lowest sodium options at this Franchise. Each side of fries adds only 230 milligrams of sodium, or 10% DV, to your meal.

Friendly’s Broccoli

steamed broccoli
Shutterstock

Nutrition (Per serving): 61 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 48 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1.5 g sugar), 3.5 g protein

Unfortunately, the only low-sodium food option on the menu at Friendly’s is their side of steamed broccoli. This isn’t to say you can’t make a menu item low-sodium by removing items like dressings, cheese, bacon, and other high-sodium toppings, but as is, steamed broccoli wins as the best choice with just 48 milligrams of sodium.

Cheesecake Factory Tossed Green Salad Appetizer

Cheesecake Factory Tossed Green Salad
Cheesecake Factory

Nutrition (Per serving): 110 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 4 g protein

Their tossed green salad has mixed greens, tomato, croutons, and a mix of vegetables like carrots and cucumbers for just 125 milligrams of sodium. You can keep this salad low in sodium by using just a tablespoon of any of their dressings. For the option of using up to two tablespoons of dressing, use a very low sodium option like their Citrus Honey, Cilantro, Caesar, or Balsamic Vinaigrette dressings.

Applebee’s Mango Fruit Smoothie

Shutterstock

Nutrition (Per 6-ounce serving): 260 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (0 g fiber, 55 g sugar), 0 g protein

If you’re looking for a treat, the Mango Fruit Smoothie at Applebees has zero milligrams of sodium, and plenty of fresh and fruity flavor packed into a 6-ounce blended non-alcoholic drink.

Red Robin Wedgie Burger

red robin wedgie burger
Red Robin

Nutrition (Per serving): 540 calories, 34 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 620 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (5 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 40 g protein

While you might think most of the sodium in a burger comes from the burger itself, a lot of it is hiding in the bun. The Wedgie Burger at Red Robin solves this problem by using fresh, crunchy lettuce to wrap the burger and all its toppings, including bacon, tomato, avocado, and onion. Even with bacon and a burger, this meal has just 620 milligrams of sodium, or 27% DV.

PF Chang’s Spicy Tuna Roll

PF Chang's Spicy Tuna Roll
PF Chang’s

Nutrition (Per roll): 45 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

Each spicy tuna roll has just 140 milligrams of sodium, meaning you could eat half of the order (8 rolls are included) and still be well within your sodium limits for the day. Just keep in mind that the wasabi and soy sauce are notoriously high in sodium, packing a lot in just a tiny amount. Enjoy your spicy tuna roll with the side of pickled ginger instead, which has a lot of flavor, without the extra sodium.

Red Lobster Roasted Atlantic Salmon

Red Lobster Roasted Atlantic Salmon
Red Lobster

Nutrition (Per serving): 900 calories, 55 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 93 g protein

The Today’s Catch entree, roasted Atlantic Salmon is a massive piece of salmon, averaging around 14 to 16 ounces. If you opt for grilled, the sodium increases by around 1,000 milligrams, so be sure you ask for roasted, as it has just 330 milligrams per serving.

Denny’s Berry Vanilla Crepes

Denny's Berry Vanilla Crepe
Denny’s

Per two crepes (12 ounces): 530 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium, 73 g carbs (4 g fiber, 44 g sugar), 7 g protein

Breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes can be surprisingly high in sodium, but two Berry Vanilla Crepes have just 430 milligrams of sodium. This is a great option if you’re watching your salt intake but craving a sweet breakfast.

Outback Steakhouse Grilled Salmon with Remoulade

Outback Steakhouse Grilled Salmon with Remoulade
Outback Steakhouse

Nutrition (Per serving): 660 calories,52 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 540 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 45 g protein

Outback Steakhouse’s Grilled Salmon with Remoulade has 540 milligrams of sodium or 23% DV. While this entree does come with two sides, it’s hearty enough to stand as a meal itself for most people, with 660 calories and 45 grams of protein. But, if you need a little something extra with it, a side of green beans adds only 5 milligrams of sodium and can help round out the meal.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad
BJ’s Restaurant

Nutrition (Per serving): 260 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 322 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 14 g protein

For a starter salad, the Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad packs a whole lot of flavor and a decent amount of fat and protein to help fill you up. The 14% DV of sodium likely comes from the balsamic glaze, which adds a huge burst of flavor, really tying this fresh salad together.

Hooters Onion Rings

Hooters Onion Rings
Hooters

Nutrition (Per serving): 460 calories, 30 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 3 g protein

For a side that won’t put you over your sodium limit for the day, try the Onion Rings at Hooters! While they’re seasoned, breaded, and fried, each serving has just 430 milligrams of sodium or 19% DV.

Golden Corral Bourbon Street Chicken

Golden Corral Bourbon Street Chicken
Golden Corral

Nutrition (Per 3-ounce serving): 170 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 19 g protein

The sweet and savory Bourbon Street Chicken has just 350 milligrams of sodium in each 3-ounce portion, not including the rice it’s often served with. A baked potato or side of buttered noodles are under 100 milligrams of sodium each if you’re looking for a low-sodium side to pair with it!

Texas Roadhouse Grilled BBQ Chicken

Texas Roadhouse grilled bbq chicken
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving): 300 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 450 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (2 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 46 g protein

The Grilled BBQ Chicken is a half-pound chicken breast, marinated and slathered with BBQ sauce for a ton of flavor and only 20% DV of sodium. This entree also has 46 grams of protein and just 1 gram of saturated fat, making it a filling and overall healthy menu option.

California Pizza Kitchen Wild Mushroom Pizza

cpk wild mushroom pizza
California Pizza Kitchen

Nutrition (Per Slice): 170 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1g fiber,1 g sugar), 7 g protein

“One slice of California Pizza Kitchen’s Wild Mushroom Pizza has 380 mg sodium,” recommends Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, owner of Nutri Savvy Health. While it’s low in sodium, it’s high in flavor, topped with  Cremini mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Romano & Mozzarella cheese, and scallions. You can even save 120 milligrams of sodium per slice if you choose the cauliflower crust instead of the original, bringing each slice to just 260 milligrams of sodium.

Long John Silvers Grilled Salmon

long john silver's grilled salmon meal
Long John Silver’s

Nutrition (Per one piece): 91 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 406 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 20 g protein

Not everything at Long John Silvers is fried; the Grilled Salmon is one of many grilled options and one that has the lowest amount of sodium, with just 406 milligrams per piece. The meal does come with two sides, most of which have more sodium than the salmon, although the applesauce and waffle fries are good choices, both with less than 50 milligrams of sodium each.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Tuscan Grilled Chicken

Carrabba's Italian Grill Tuscan-Grilled Chicken
Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Nutrition (Per serving): 270 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 440 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 53 g protein

Tuscan Grilled Chicken features a wood-grilled chicken breast that’s seasoned with olive oil and herbs, meaning it gets plenty of flavor without plenty of salt. Each serving has just 440 milligrams of sodium or 19% of the recommended daily limit. But keep in mind that the sauteed broccoli that’s served on the side has a surprising 550 milligrams of sodium, so you may want to skip or split the portion.

Johnny Rockets Breakfast Potatoes

Johnny Rockets Breakfast Potatoes
Johnny Rockets/Facebook

Nutrition (Per serving): 170 calories, 10 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 30g carbs 0( g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein

Johnny Rockets isn’t known for having many low-sodium options on the menu, whether it be breakfast or lunch, but the breakfast potatoes come in at a surprising 310 milligrams per serving, making them one of the lowest sodium menu items.

IHOP Pesto Veggie Egg White Omelet With Fruit

IHOP Pesto Veggie Egg White Omelette
IHOP

Nutrition (Per serving): 480calories,34 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 640 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (7 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 21 g protein

Straight from the menu with no alterations, the Pesto Veggie Egg White Omelet is served with fresh fruit and has only 640 milligrams of sodium or 28% of the recommended daily limit. This meal is enough to fill you up and leave you satisfied with its 7 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein.

LongHorn Steakhouse Longhorn Salmon

longhorn steakhouse longhorn salmon
LongHorn Steakhouse

Nutrition (Per 7-ounce serving): 300 calories, 16 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 310 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 33 g protein

A 7-ounce portion of the LongHorn Salmon has plenty of protein, healthy fats, and just 310 milligrams of sodium, or 14% DV. Even without the extra sodium, this dish has plenty of flavor from their signature bourbon marinade.

Cracker Barrel Spicy Grilled Catfish Filet

Cracker Barrel Grilled Catfish
Cracker Barrel

Nutrition (Per serving): 130 calories,5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 19 g protein

The Spicy Grilled Catfish Filet is a satisfying high protein low sodium entree at Cracker Barrel. If enjoying this as part of a meal, just be cautious of your sides as they can add up quickly. Great low-sodium side options are whole-kernel corn, applesauce, fried apples, steamed broccoli, steak fries, or seasonal fruit, which all have less than 100 milligrams of sodium each.

Waffle House Egg Sandwich

Waffle House Egg Sandwich
Waffle House

Nutrition (Per serving): 220 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 10 g protein

“Go for the plain egg sandwich at Waffle House,” says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition, “the sandwich has just 320 milligrams of sodium and provides a decent dose of protein, with 10 grams.” If plain egg on toast doesn’t sound appealing, you can add a slice of cheese for a total of 570 milligrams of sodium, which is still only 25% DV.

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina Grilled Shrimp Skewer

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina Grilled Shrimp Skewer
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

Nutrition (Per serving of three shrimp): 50 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

A side of grilled shrimp skewers from On the Border has just 390 milligrams of sodium and plenty of flavor with the cilantro-lime marinade and mesquite grilled flavor. To keep your entire meal low sodium, eat them over a house salad with a splash of olive oil, adding only 190 milligrams of sodium.

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