Low Iodine Diet Summary

Before Radioactive Iodine Treatment or Scan


  • Diet is LOW iodine, not iodine-free.
  • Diet is for 2 weeks prior to radioactive iodine scan/treatment.
  • READ INGREDIENT LISTS on all packaged foods!
    • Avoid foods that are HIGH in iodine (>20 mcg/serving).
    • Limit foods MODERATE in iodine (5 – 20 mcg/serving).
    • Eat any foods that are LOW in iodine (<5 mcg/serving).


  • Iodized salt, sea salt or foods containing salt.
  • Seafood and sea products (fish, shellfish, seaweed, etc.)
  • Any dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, etc.)
  • Egg yolks or whole eggs
  • Baked goods with iodine or iodine-containing ingredients
  • Red Dye #3
  • Chocolate (due to milk)
  • Sulfured molasses
  • Soybeans and soy products (soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, etc.)
  • Beans (kidney, pinto, lima, navy, cowpeas, etc.)
  • Potato skins (inside is okay)
  • Rhubarb or maraschino cherries (red dye #3)


  • Fruits (except rhubarb and maraschino cherries)
  • Vegetables (raw or frozen) without salt
  • Unsalted nuts and unsalted nut butters
  • Egg whites
  • Fresh meats up to 6 oz. per day
  • Grain and cereal products up to 4 servings per day (provided no HIGH iodine ingredients)
  • Pasta (with no HIGH iodine ingredients)
  • Sugar, jelly, jam, honey, maple syrup
  • Black pepper, herbs and spices (except salt)
  • All oils (including soy oil)
  • Sodas (except with red dye #3)
  • Coffee and tea (non-instant)
  • Beer, wine, alcoholic beverages
  • Fruit juices


  • Oatmeal with cinnamon, honey, or fruit
  • Grilled fresh meat, vegetables, fruit or baked apple
  • Salad with grilled meat, oil and vinegar dressing
  • Matzo PB&J sandwich (Matzo crackers with unsalted peanut butter and jelly)


  • Fresh or dried fruits
  • Raw vegetables
  • Applesauce
  • Popcorn (unsalted, unbuttered)
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Unsalted peanut butter with fruit, vegetables, or rice cakes
  • Unsalted Matzo or other unsalted crackers
  • Homemade low-iodine bread or muffins

INFORMATION COURTESY OF THYROID CANCER SURVIVORS’ ASSOCIATION. For more information or for the free downloadable “Low Iodine Cookbook”, visit www.thyca.org.