Reports conclude kids in America are eating too much salt - here’s why and what to do about it.
Due to processed foods in stores and restaurants, kids are at risk for high blood pressure and the chance of developing heart disease later in life, federal health officials say. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 90 percent of American children ages 6 to 18 consume too much sodium each day.
How much sodium should we be eating? Dietary guidelines call for less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and right now children are consuming an average of about 3,300 mg.
Where is the high intake of sodium coming from? There is a high amount of sodium lurking in processed and restaurant foods including:
- Cold cuts
- Pasta with sauce
- Salty snacks
- Potato chips
- Chicken nuggets
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in six children has raised blood pressure, which can be lowered in part by a healthy diet.
Ways to Lower Sodium Intake for Kids
Model healthy eating for your children by providing a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, without added salt. Some options include:
- Veggies with hummus
- Fruit with peanut butter
- Cucumber slices
- Yogurt with honey and almonds
- Trail mix
The CDC recommends requesting nutrition information from restaurants before choosing an item. Also, stay away from processed meats, such as, salami, bologna, sausage, bacon and hot dogs.
Try using alternatives when cooking. Use salt-free seasonings when possible, or use garlic or citrus juice for added flavor. In addition, the CDC recommends preparing rice, pasta, beans and meats from their most basic form when possible.
Prepare meals ahead of time so families and children are eating less on the road. This prevents purchasing fast food and overeating.
Get the children involved by having them help prepare snacks and meals for the week. This also gives them some responsibility, and makes eating healthy fun!