Latina Dietitian’s Top Tips for Low Sodium Mexican Food

Wondering where to find low sodium Mexican food? It may be easier than you think!

One of my biggest pet peeves as a dietitian is when other dietitians tell people they don’t need salt at all and to just use other seasonings to completely replace it. Yes, it’s true that using herbs and spices can reduce the amount of salt you need.

But your food probably still needs some salt to taste good. 

So instead of telling you to throw out your salt shaker, I decided to compile my top 6 tips to enjoy Mexican food while lowering your sodium intake. 

So keep reading for my top 6 (realistic) tips to reduce your salt intake while eating Mexican food!

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ideas for low sodium mexican food including homemade foods like salsa and beans

How to Eat a Low Sodium Diet with Mexican Food

1. Know Your Numbers

What I see most often as a dietitian is that people want to  reduce their sodium intake, but they’re not sure what counts as a high sodium food and what’s a low sodium food. 

Most often, I see people worrying that any added salt at all is bad. It’s not! 

Sodium is an essential nutrient, which means humans need to consume it (1). 

There is, however, an upper limit. The American Heart Association recommends between 1,500 mg and 2,300 mg of sodium per day. 

This means, if you eat 3 meals a day, you should aim to consume meals with less than 750 mg of sodium. 

If you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks, aim for meals with less than 450 mg of sodium. 

If you’re reading a nutrition label or food package, keep these definitions from the FDA in mind:

  • Low sodium means less than 140 mg sodium per serving
  • Very low sodium means less than 35 mg sodium per serving

Keep in mind you may have to combine multiple foods to make one meal, so to stay under a 450 mg/meal sodium limit, you may have to select low sodium foods according to the definition above. 

2. Add a squeeze of lime

One of the best ways to add extra flavor to a Mexican meal is with a squeeze of lime on top!

This can help add a lot of flavor without needing as much salt. 

It’s common in Mexican food culture to serve soups and tacos with limes. 

3. Choose low sodium seasonings (Adobo, Chicken Bouillon, and more)

Seasoning blends like adobo are a staple in Mexican-American kitchens! Same with chicken bouillon powder (any Knorr fans out there?).

These seasonings are convenient, tasty, and there are some health benefits to the herbs and spices in them (more on that in another post). 

But oftentimes they have a lot more salt than we would think to add ourselves. 

If you use a lot of these pre-made seasonings, shop around for lower sodium alternatives like Loisa’s salt-free adobo blend

Knorr also has a salt-free chicken bouillon powder you could check out! (Note, this blend uses potassium chloride, which may not be safe to consume with certain medications. Always consult your doctor before making this change.)

You can also explore making your own seasonings at home! It’s a fun, easy kitchen project that lets you control how much salt goes in your seasonings.

Check out this homemade adobo seasoning recipe to get you started.

infographic with 6 tips to enjoy low sodium mexican food

4. Top with fresh veggies

Fresh vegetables are low in sodium and high in water content. They’re also filling due to the fiber content. So they can help you reduce your overall sodium intake while still eating a filling meal. 

One of my favorite things about Mexican food is how you can easily add extra vegetables as a garnish. This can include shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced onion, avocado slices, or even salsa

This is a great technique to use if you’re at a Mexican restaurant and can’t control how much sodium they can cook with. Ask for extra avocado, or use up all the fresh vegetables they bring you on the side of your meal. 

5. Choose homemade (easy homemade recipes like avocado tostada, homemade salsa)

The main source of excess sodium intake among U.S. adults is not from home cooked food, it’s from packaged food and restaurant food. 

According to the FDA, around 70% of dietary sodium comes from processed and prepared foods (2). 

The vast majority of the time, someone making home cooked food will not be cooking with excessive sodium. So if you’re doing a lot of your own cooking, don’t overthink it!

One of the best things you can do for your sodium intake is to start preparing more homemade food. I know this can seem daunting. But here are some very easy ways to start swapping out some prepared foods for homemade foods. 

6. Rinse canned beans and vegetables

Canned beans and canned vegetables can be a convenient way to get a meal on the table. But they can also be higher in sodium. 

The easiest way to get the convenience of canned foods with less sodium is simply to rinse them!

Draining and rinsing canned vegetables can reduce sodium content by up to 41%, according to Have a Plant

One of my favorite 10-minute meal prep meals is this Nopalitos Salad with Black Beans, made with both canned black beans and canned nopales. Give them a rinse before preparing and you can enjoy a super easy low sodium lunch. 

The Big Picture

One of the most important things you can do to lower your sodium intake is to cook more. 

This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. Even something as simple as making your own salsa can help!

There are plenty of ways to enjoy lower sodium Mexican food, without sacrificing flavor. 

As a Latina dietitian, this is why I’m here. I want you to feel empowered to live your healthiest life, without giving up flavor, culture, or community. 

Want to join the club? Get started with my FREE 1-week Mexican meal plan. Sign up below to snag your copy. 


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