Restaurants With High Sodium Menus to Avoid
It had to happen. I always try to be optimistic. I wanted to believe that every restaurant would at least have one full meal on their menu that a Low Sodium person could order and stay within their allotment of sodium milligrams for the day. The reality is though, that there are restaurants that don’t fit that bill. I have a whole section of my blog dedicated to finding those menu items at restaurants that they can order. I will now have a space for those restaurants that don’t provide a low sodium meal option. These are the restaurants with high sodium menus to avoid.
How They Made it on The List
It would be a waste of a full post to explain that these restaurants may have an item you could eat, if you avoided all sides and accompaniments. So I believe that those restaurants make this list of restaurants to avoid. I will update it frequently so please check back. Also, if you work with a restaurant on this list and want me to revisit you when you make changes to your menu, please contact me and let me know, I would love to be able to have your restaurant come off of this list. It would be a victory and progress for my fellow low sodium sojourners.
Here is the list of Restaurants With High Sodium Menus to Avoid (I will update frequently):
For adults, their basic 6 oz. sirloin does come in at 540 mg, but there are no sides you could order to keep this meal at less than a half or third of your daily sodium milligram allotment. You could try ordering off of the kids menu, but to me that is just demeaning to an adult trying to eat a healthy meal. TGI Friday’s nutrition info can be found here.
You could get away with eating one chicken leg, or a four pack of nuggets without sauce, but that is it. No sauce. No sides except a corn cob. Anything else on this menu runs you over 1000 mg of sodium to put together a protein, sauce, side order, and a beverage. This would not qualify as a complete meal. Get their Popeye’s nutrition info can be found here.
You can’t have your babyback, babyback, babyback ribs. Sorry. You could order a half rack of the Dr. Pepper BBQ ribs, but no sauce or sides. Just dry. You would be much better to cook ribs at home (here’s my low sodium rub and sauce recipe). The Burgers at Chili’s start at over a 1000 mg of sodium and their appetizers at over 2000 mg per choice. Get their Chili’s nutritional information can be found here.
Many of you asked me to check the nutritional info for their hams and turkeys for the holidays. Sadly the preparation they do in the cooking process makes the final output for a four oz serving of their bone in ham at 1230 mg. The boneless ham is 1130 mg. The smoked turkey breast is 1100 mg and the roast turkey breast is 950 mg. Get their Honey Baked Ham Company’s nutrition info can be found here.
The home of “The Meat” is also the home to extremely high sodium. You could start with the basic roast beef, plain with a bun, and you start at the max amount for your meal allotment of 750 mg. There is also a side salad. The salad is only 100 mg, but any dressing you add starts at over 460 mg. I tried even looking at their kids meals, but even a slider starts at 760 mg. Arby’s nutritional information can be found here.
In the same vein as Popeye’s, The Colonel does not have a way to allow us to eat there and stick to our low sodium diet (no matter which comedian plays him). You could have a single wing or a single drumstick, but after that you quickly go over the 1000 mg mark for a meal. Most of their side orders alone are in the 300-900 milligrams of sodium range. Get their Kentucky Fried Chicken’s nutrition info can be found here.
This is unfortunate, but they are the first company that denied the request for their sodium information. They provide caloric info, but no information on sodium content. So, as a community, we cannot risk our health by eating at their locations. If at any time they provide this information, I will update the listing, but The Cheesecake Factory is squarely on the list of Restaurants with High Sodium Menus to Avoid! The Cheesecake Factory’s nutrition info can be found here.
Buffalo Wild Wings does not easily offer their nutrition information on their website. You have to contact the company and request it. The good news is that they were very helpful in sending the information. The bad news is there is no way to put together a low sodium meal that is under 1200 mg for a main and side. Buffalo Wild Wing’s nutritional info can be found here.
While they do have a 6 oz. unseasoned sirloin, it comes in at 560 mg. There are no side options to make this a meal. Unless you want to order the Lil dillo Bites and Apple Sauce from the kids menu. They cook their baked potatoes with salt. So sadly, the Roadhouse is a place to avoid when trying to adhere to your low sodium lifestyle. Texas Roadhouse’s nutrition info can be found here.
You can order a plain Red’s Beef Burger from the kids menu at 420 mg. Otherwise, there are no low sodium options here. Even though a House salad is 150 mg plain, the lowest sodium dressing option is the Salsa Ranch for 270 mg. Red Robin’s nutrition info can be found here.
Carl’s Junior is actually the elder statesman of the Carl’s-Hardees burger empire. Sadly their sodium levels are NOT very Junior! The only low sodium I see is on their kids menu. It is not the kids hamburger which starts out (plain) at 540 mg. The lowest sodium item is an undressed garden salad for 240 mg. or Kid’s Chicken Stars 4 pcs for 320 mg. without dipping sauces. Carl’s Jr nutrition info can be found here.
Like their sibling chain Carl’s Jr, Hardee’s is on the list of restaurants to avoid. Famous for their Thickburgers and Extreme sandwiches, sodium isn’t a consideration of theirs. The 2/3rd lb Monster Thickburger is 3140 mg of sodium! A small hamburger (plain) starts at 610 mg. an undressed side salad is 140 mg. It is best to skip this one. Hardee’s nutrition info is found here.
A plain hamburger and unsalted fries will still run you over 940 mg for a meal. If you could restrict yourself, a single taco or egg roll would run under 350 mg, but it is really not a whole meal. Jack in the Box has to be considered a restaurant with a high sodium menu to avoid. Jack in the Box’s nutrition info is found here.
I’d like to think we could find something on their menu to eat, but we can’t know. They do not publish Nutrition Info for their menu. I contacted their corporate office, and they were not able to send me any info. Their statement of not publishing nutrition information is here.
The only potential item you could eat at Whataburger would be their Apple Cranberry Salad with no dressing. It is 200 mg. The dressings would put the salad over 500 mg. Needless to say, Whataburger is over the top with their salt. Whataburger nutrition info is here.
There is no entree choice here that meets the bill. A naked Butterburger is 570 mg alone. The only option is a side salad with the Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Culver’s nutritional information is here.
Bojangle’s may be famous for chicken and biscuits. Sadly they are too high in sodium to be a choice for us when we dine out. Yes, you could have one chicken leg for 190 mg. But that is not a meal. Except for coleslaw at 240 mg. All of their sides and biscuits are over 500 mg a piece. More than the entire sodium allotment we could have in one meal. Bojangle’s nutrition information is here.
A chain that espouses their famous 7×7 custom steak-burger that comes in at 4060 mg of sodium probably doesn’t bode well for us low sodium diners. A single steak-burger without cheese is 830 mg. A steak-burger with cheese and fries kids meal is over 1190 mg of sodium. Steak N Shake is definitely one to avoid. Steak N Shake’s nutrition information is here.
Zaxby’s was an easy addition to the list of restaurants to avoid. Their salads alone come in from 1400 mg of sodium to 2000 mg. For. A. Salad! Not really shocking since their entrees and other items will run from 3800 mg to 4800 mg. There is absolutely nothing here you can customize to make it safe for us. Zaxbys nutrition information is found here.
With their basic Original Smashburger coming in at 1748 mg. There is nothing to be modified, especially as their burgers are all pre-seasoned. The seasoning is over 440 mg by itself. Smashburger’s nutrition information is found here.