What can I eat for Thanksgiving dinner if I need to follow a low sodium diet?

Typically my answer to this question, is that Thanksgiving is one meal out of hundreds of meals in a year. An occasional high sodium dinner is most likely not going to impact your health. However, I know there are people who want to limit their sodium as much as possible, even on holidays. This does not need to be an all or nothing situation either. Maybe you make a couple of the dishes low sodium and you make the remaining dishes in your traditional manner. However you decide to approach sodium at Thanksgiving dinner, we’ve rounded up some flavorful low sodium recipes.

 

delicata squash salad

Delicata Squash Salad with Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Do you have any non-starchy veggies on the table? I love a flavorful salad to brighten things up. If you haven’t tried roasted delicata squash, you need to! This delicata squash salad is flavorful and fresh and perfect for the season. Omit the salt when roasting the squash to reduce the sodium.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Traditional mac and cheese can be fairly high in sodium just from the sheer volume of cheese used. Not only do I love the flavor and texture from the butternut squash, but it takes the place of some of the cheese, aka less sodium!

butternut squash mac n cheese
sweet potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

 
No salt needed here. Roast sweet potatoes and serve them with unsalted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Or try twice baked sweet potatoes for something a little different. Omit the salt in the first step.
 

Low Sodium Stuffing

I did it again. Took my favorite stuffing recipe and changed it up. Last time it was to make it “low carb” (ie used low carb bread). This time I made it a low sodium stuffing. I ditched the sausage and opted for low sodium broth. It’s still delicious!

low sodium thanksgiving dinner
low sodium thanksgiving dinner

Low Sodium Garlic Mashed Potatoes

When cooking without salt, you need to go heavy on other flavors. I’m a big BIG fan of roasted garlic. If you cut the top off the garlic so the cloves are exposed, rub it with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and roast it for an hour…you can just squeeze out an amazingly flavorful garlic paste. Yum. I just used our Leached Mashed Potato recipe, but unless you have to limit your potassium intake (which typically occurs with certain stages of Chronic Kidney Disease), skip the leaching step! 

Low Sodium Gravy with Herbs

When I cook turkey, I’m a big fan of using fresh herbs like thyme and sage. I’m playing up those flavors by pairing my turkey with an herby gravy. I used a roux to make this low sodium gravy with herbs and saved on salt by using a low sodium broth.

low sodium thanksgiving dinner
low sodium thanksgiving dinner

Low Sodium Air Fried Turkey Thighs

HELLO CRISPY. If you’re cooking for a small group, pull out that air fryer. It is so worth it. The most perfectly moist turkey thighs with extra crispy skin. Yes please.

Cranberry Sauce

Whether you want to make it yourself, or you prefer a slice of canned stuff, cranberry sauce is not a significant source of sodium. Enjoy!
 
low sodium thanksgiving dinner
low sodium thanksgiving dinner

Low Sodium Pumpkin Pie

A pumpkin pie from the store can actually add 400 mg of sodium to the meal. When a day’s recommendation is less than 2000 mg, things add up quickly. By omitting the salt from both the crust and the filling, you save on sodium and your homemade pumpkin pie is still delectable.

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake Cups

 
 
If you’re looking for a non-pie dessert, these cheesecake cups are the delicious flavors of a cheesecake but less work!
 
 
low sodium thanksgiving dinner

Looking for more Thanksgiving inspo?

We’ve got you covered.

Blog reviewed and updated November 2023

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An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.