How to Make Healthy Oatmeal that's Sodium-Free

Healthy Oatmeal with Cranberries and Nuts
Healthy, sodium-free, oatmeal can still taste great and be quick to make.

Only instant oatmeal has salt, for the most part. But you don’t need instants to save time. There’s Quaker Quick 1-Minute Oats. And McCann’s Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal and Country Choice Organic Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats cook in just five minutes.


If you want an instant oatmeal, look for one that has no more than 100 milligrams of sodium per serving. Try Umpqua Oats Unsweetened Not Guilty All Natural, Whole Foods 365 Organic Original Instant, or Quaker Organic Regular Instant.

For more flavor, cook the oats in milk instead of water, suggests our Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood.
Then try adding:

  • almonds & honey
  • applesauce, cinnamon, & raisins
  • dried cranberries (cook the cereal in half milk, half orange juice instead of water)
  • dried cherries, dried blueberries, & dried strawberries
  • dates & pecans
  • roasted and salted cashews & brown sugar

You’ll never rip open a packet of instant again. doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government funding. Any products recommended by have been vetted by our staff of nutritionists and are not advertisements by the manufacturers.

More ways to reduce sodium, not taste.

For low-sodium, but tasty, breads for your lunch sandwich, click here.

For Dinner
A shaker filled with a variety of herbs can be a tasty, convenient way to use less salt. Try this combination:
1 teaspoon celery seed, ground
2 ½ teaspoons marjoram, crushed
2 ½ teaspoons summer savory, crushed
1 ½ teaspoons thyme, crushed
1 ½ teaspoons dry basil, crushed
½ teaspoon black pepper, crushed
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, then store in your own shaker. Use to season fish, chicken, or salads, and you won’t miss the salt. *Courtesy of Palo Alto Medical Foundation

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About the Author: Jayne Hurley
Jayne Hurley

Jayne Hurley is a Registered Dietitian and has worked for CSPI and Nutrition Action Healthletter since 1988. Jayne’s expertise in analyzing Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and other restaurant foods, as well as movie-theater popcorn, has helped expose many dishes as loaded with calories, saturated fat, and salt. Jayne has been a frequent guest on major national television and radio programs… Read More

This article is based on content from the Nutrition Action Healthletter. Click here to subscribe.

3 Replies to “How to Make Healthy Oatmeal that's Sodium-Free”

  1. To enhance the protein content of my oatmeal, I add egg whites (50 grams to 44 grams of dried oats) to the dry oatmeal. After mixing thoroughly, I then add my liquid (I use a combination of almond, flax and soy milks), mixed nuts and raisins. It is important to mix the egg whites with the dried oats; adding them after having added the liquid results in a mixture of oatmeal and scrambled egg whites.

  2. Very creative way to add protein! By chance have you tasted the oatmeal and scrambled egg whites result?

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