Low Sodium Meatloaf

This article was written by dietetic student Cattie Clifft & reviewed by Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FNKF, FAND.

Who doesn’t love a good meatloaf to remind you of the good ole days spent with grandma. But did you know most meatloaf recipes are loaded with sodium. In this recipe you will find a low sodium meatloaf recipe for the classic family-friendly meal.

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Pin for Easy and Delicious Low Sodium Meatloaf

Why Eat Low Sodium?

Sodium is an ingredient in many different foods, but how much sodium you eat is important to think about. Especially since eating too much sodium has been linked to kidney problems, like kidney stones and kidney disease

The goal of eating low sodium is not to completely cut out sodium from your diet. Believe it or not, our body needs salt to function! However, most of us consume way more than what our body needs or what is recommended. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for general health recommends a goal of 2,300mg of salt per day. Although the average American consumes around 3,200mg of sodium every day (1).

Sodium Content of Meatloaf

When looking for a low sodium alternative, we aim for foods less than 140mg of sodium per serving. 

As for meatloaf, the USDA estimates a 4 oz serving can have at least 430 mg of sodium. This low sodium meatloaf recipe only contains 98 mg of sodium per 4 oz serving.

Image of sodium content of meatloaf. The kidney dietitian low sodium meatloaf with about 100mg per slice compared to traditional meatloaf with over 400mg per slice

Lower Sodium Ingredients in Low Sodium Meatloaf

Not all the ingredients in traditional meatloaf are high in sodium. However, there are a few ingredients that are jam packed with sodium. All we need to do to make  a Low Sodium Meatloaf is reduce or swap out these higher sodium ingredients.

Ground Beef

In this recipe, we used lean 90/10 ground beef, as it has the least amount of sodium with enough fat for flavor. However, feel free to use whatever fat content you prefer. The difference in salt content between them is still very small and the meatloaf would still qualify as low sodium.

Here are the sodium contents for 1 lb of ground beef, according to the USDA (2):

  • 95% lean meat / 5% fat, baked – 187 mg
  • 90% lean meat / 10% fat, baked – 197 mg
  • 85% lean meat / 15% fat, baked – 198 mg
  • 80% lean meat / 20% fat, baked – 207 mg
  • 75% lean meat / 25% fat, baked – 199 mg

You could also use ground turkey, pork or other meats in this low sodium meatloaf.


Breadcrumbs are often used in meatloaf recipes to add flavor and to hold the meat together. Unfortunately, most breadcrumbs contain lots of salt! Most breadcrumbs have anywhere from 200-600 mg of salt in a ½ cup.

This low sodium meatloaf calls for plain panko breadcrumbs like Kikkoman Panko Breadcrumbs*. These only contain 40 mg of salt per ½ cup. 

Image of low sodium meatloaf with ingredients listed around it


In this recipe, we limited the salt during cooking. Instead, we added lots of tasty herbs and spices to add extra flavor and make our low sodium meatloaf delicious!

Herbs & Spices

This recipe uses herbs and spices, which are an easy way to keep the sodium low, while keeping great flavor. Feel free to “spice” things up by experimenting with your own favorite herbs and spices instead of the ingredients we used.

No-Salt Added Ketchup

Ketchup may not always taste salty but it has loads of sodium. The sodium content of 1 tbsp for both, Heinz and Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup is 180 mg of salt. 

To keep sodium down,  this low sodium meatloaf recipe calls for a no-salt added ketchup. We used Heinz No-Salt Added Ketchup*, which contains 5 mg of sodium per serving. 

Potassium in Salt-Free Ketchup

Most people with chronic kidney disease should look for no salt added ketchup without any potassium additives. Many “no-salt” or “low sodium” products like ketchup, soup or bouillon have potassium chloride in them. Although not everyone with kidney disease needs to limit potassium, potassium additives are much more absorbable in our bodies compared to potassium that is naturally in food. Kroger brand Low Sodium Ketchup is potassium-additive free and only has 70 mg sodium per 2 tablespoons.

I discuss more about potassium food additives in my Low Potassium Breakfast Foods blog post!

How to Build a Meal with Low Sodium Meatloaf

Even though this meatloaf is low sodium, pairing it with sides high in sodium can make that meal high sodium quick! Sodium in side dishes can add up. I love to pair meatloaf with a roasted vegetable and mac & cheese.

Check out these delicious recipes for low sodium mac and cheese and brussels sprouts to pair with your low sodium meatloaf.

Happy Eating!

Low Sodium Meatloaf

Hearty, soul-warming meatloaf just like mom used to make – without all the salt!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 14 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: low sodium meatloaf
Servings: 8 4 ounce slices
Calories: 218kcal


Meatloaf Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon no-salt added Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons no-salt-added ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup no-salt added ketchup
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add all of the meatloaf ingredients. Mix ingredients well to combine.
  • Add meat mixture to the loaf pan, gently press meat down to shape evenly into loaf pan. Bake meatloaf at 375°F for 40 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, add and mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Evenly spread sauce over meatloaf and return to oven to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  • Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


Nutrition Facts (per 4 oz slice): 218 calories, 8g fat, 3g fat, 77mg cholesterol, 98mg sodium, 17g carbohydrates, 0.5g fiber, 10g added sugar, 18g protein, 25mg calcium, 525 mg potassium, 141mg phosphorus, 6mg oxalate

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