• Sarah

A pinch of salt?

This week is National Salt Awareness Week (http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/awareness/salt-awareness-week-2018 ). How much salt our children should eat is something parents often worry about, especially when introducing solids for the first time. The key thing to remember is that, just like adults, children should consume as little salt as possible. I make it a rule never to add salt during cooking. In that way I ensure that the only salt in the meals I cook comes from ingredients such as cheese and stock cubes (choose low salt varieties where possible). A salt grinder on the table means that adults can add salt if they want, but hopefully the kids won’t develop a taste for it.

Be aware that when eating out, restaurant food usually contains added salt. Children are often very thirsty after a restaurant meal so make sure they have plenty to drink (milk or water) and keep such outings as occasional treats.

When choosing snacks, I find it helpful to know the recommended daily intakes for my kids: 6-12 months, 1g; 1-3 years, 2g; 4-6 years, 3g; 7-10 years, 5g; 11 years and older, 6g (SACN 2003). Note that these are maximum intakes, NOT targets. Look at the nutritional information on the foods you buy: for example a small packet of mini cheddars contains 0.6g salt, so would be over half the day’s intake of a baby, but for a pre-schooler it would be more acceptable as an occasional snack. Remember that eating too much salt at any age can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in later life, so reducing your family’s intake will benefit you all.

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