About MealBuilder

MealBuilder is an easy-to-use, free meal planning tool that helps you search for recipes, make meal plans, and track nutritional info. Use MealBuilder to build your profile with healthy, low-sodium meals that fit the diet and nutritional goals of whomever you are serving.

Why is consuming less sodium so important?

Over three-quarters of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from processed and prepared food1 — and the average American is consuming well over the recommended daily allowance.2 Consuming too much sodium is associated with elevated blood pressure, posing health risks including heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.3

How much sodium should be consumed daily?

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. The sodium intake recommendations for children are:

Aged 1 through 3 years should consume less than 1,200 mg of sodium per day.
Aged 4 through 8 years should consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
Aged 9 through 13 years should consume less than 1,800 mg of sodium per day
Aged 14 years and older should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Based on these guidelines, the vast majority of people ages 1 and older consume more sodium than they should—an average of more than 3,393 mg each day.2 See the example below that demonstrates how sodium content per meal adds up over the course of one day.

Search Recipes

Use the Recipe Search to find low sodium recipes by setting a maximum amount of sodium before you search. Think about how much sodium each meal should contain so that all meals together add up to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) in a day. If you are serving special populations, such as in elder care or child care settings, you may need to accommodate special needs and state or national food service guidelines.

Recipe Search

Are you a Congregate Meal Provider?

Are you a congregate meal provider? Do you want to focus on sodium reduction to provide healthier, low sodium meals for your consumers? Try using the Assessment to Action Tools to assess your current practices that impact the sodium content of the meals you serve and identify specific action items you can take to reduce sodium. Because the majority of sodium consumed is found in processed foods and restaurant meals, food service providers have an especially valuable role to play in ensuring that Americans consume a healthy amount of sodium. These tools can help food service managers, dietitians, and chefs serve healthier, lower-sodium foods to their customers and clients.

  • 1 Harnack LI, Cogswell ME, Shikany JM, Gardner CD, Gillespie C, Loria CM, et al. Sources of Sodium in U.S. adults from 3 Geographic Regions. Circulation. 2017;135(19):1775–83
  • 2 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov
  • 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Heart Disease and Stroke. 2019. [Factsheet] Available from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/factsheets/Heart-Disease-Stroke-factsheet-H.pdf.

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