How to Calculate Sodium in a Recipe

Cooking from scratch is the best way to control your sodium intake. Learning how to calculate sodium amounts in recipes you’re making will make counting those mgs a breeze!

Spiral notebook surrounded by raw fruits and vegetables

Grams and milligrams and serving sizes, OH MY!! Getting a handle on low sodium life, and all the terms that come with it, can be challenging, especially at the start. If your doctor has advised you to keep your sodium intake at or below a certain level, it’s important that you know how to monitor exactly how much sodium is in your diet, even when you’re cooking for yourself. Simply not adding salt to your recipes may not be enough to help you meet your goals.

Apps and Websites

Fortunately, there are apps and websites that can help you track the sodium in the ingredients you’re cooking with. Tools like these make it easy to find out how much sodium is in each ingredient because they have nutritional information for thousands of foods built in. 

MyFitnessPal

I’ve used MyFitnessPal for years to monitor calories but when our diets changed I was thrilled to find out it also tracks sodium content. The app is easy to use. Simply enter your ingredients and the amounts you’re using and it will generate a full nutrition label for each recipe. One of my favorite things about MyFitnessPal is that it stores your recipes so you can refer back to them as needed.

VeryWellFit.com 

VeryWellFit is a website dedicated to helping you reach your fitness goals. Their recipe nutrition calculator will create a nutrition label based on the ingredients you enter. The recipe nutrition calculator is free and easy to use.

Lose It! 

Lose It! is another popular nutrition tracking website and app. I haven’t used it but it is mentioned frequently as an excellent resource by other low sodium lifestyle friends. It works pretty much the same as the others I’ve mentioned. You enter ingredients and it produces a nutrition label that lets you know how much sodium, among other things, is in your recipe.

USDA Food Data Central

If you’re cooking with foods that don’t have a nutrition label, like fresh fruits and vegetables, the USDA’s Food Data Central website has a search function specifically for foods. Type in the food you’re interested in and the database will give you its full nutritional value. 

These are just a few free options for tools to help you calculate sodium in recipes. A quick Google search will give you many more options. Find your favorite and get started!

Ingredients in small bowls on white countertop

Tips for Using Nutrition Tracking Apps and Websites to Calculate Sodium

It’s important when using these tools that you are as specific as possible when you enter your ingredients. Include brand names and exact amounts so you get an accurate count. Different brands of the same products can contain varying amounts of sodium. 

Step By Step Instructions to Calculate Sodium in a Recipe

You can still track the sodium in a recipe without using a website or app. 

  1. Gather all of the ingredients you’re going to use for your recipe. Write down how much of each ingredient you’re using then check the labels or use the USDA’s Food Data Central website to find out how much sodium is in that amount.
  2. Add up the sodium amounts for all of your ingredients combined. The total is the amount of sodium in your entire recipe.
  3. Divide that number by the number of servings your recipe makes and you’ll have the amount of sodium found in one serving.
Infographic detailing how to calculate sodium in a recipe

 How can I tell what a serving size is?

Serving size is listed at the top of the nutrition label. It should include an amount in a measurement like cups, slices, or tablespoons, followed by the amount in grams. In a recipe, the serving size is the amount of the food that is typically eaten at one time. If your chili recipes makes 8 cups of chili and you plan to eat 1 cup at a time, the serving size for your chili recipe is 1 cup.

Have Questions about Calculating Sodium in a Recipe?

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8 Comments

  1. Calculating the sodium of each ingredient and then dividing it by servings is the best advice 👌 in this article. I appreciate it a lot

  2. Chef,
    That is pretty much the way I’ve been calculating the sodium in my recipes. I’m currently trying use all my higher sodium products; i.e. Canned beans, Tomato products esp. Juice, sauce and diced. (Tomato Paste will be my new go to to create sauces) Recently I made some chili using the above products. Unfortunately even after the addition of Masa flour to thicken it, it was too thin to add add’l water which is what I normally do to increase servings and reduce sodium. Surprisingly it came in at 64.3mg per oz. But what I’m really curious about is the reduction and evaporation factor which normally concentrate flavor(ggod) and salt (bad).

  3. I have used VeryWellFit.com for about a year and a half since my hubs had heart surgery and was put on a cardiac diet of low sodium, low cholesterol, & low fat. It works pretty well, but can be a little finicky. Thanks for the other sources to calculate nutrition.

  4. hello. I’m a kidney patient on a low sodium diet. I make my own bread .I made a loaf .weight,48 0unces. salt 3780 g. 48 servings @ 78.75 each. correct?
    I used the other formula posted sodium amt X .40=1512.what is correct? Thank you
    great site

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