If you’re like me, you worry that you’re feeding your kids too much processed junk, concerned about all the chemicals and preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. I’m constantly reading labels and get that icky, guilty feeling whenever I spring for the break-and-bake cookies or the technicolor Avengers Popsicles. It turns out though that one of the biggest hits to our kids’ diets is the amount of sodium in their food. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9 out of 10 kids consume more sodium than is recommended, and 1 out of 6 has elevated blood pressure. And it’s not like all of that salt is coming out of the shaker. Nope, more than 75 percent of our sodium intake comes from restaurant meals and processed foods.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mgs a day of sodium, but the average kid is consuming around 3,100 mgs a day. Yikes!
To help reduce the amount of sodium your kids eat, The AHA suggests reading labels and choosing the options with less sodium. Also, look for packaged products that are labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added.” When cooking, limit the amount of salt that you add to your foods, so your kids don’t develop a taste for super-salty fare. Feed them plenty of foods with potassium, which apparently offsets the effects of sodium, like potatoes, bananas, cantaloupe, tomatoes, greens, and beans. Finally, know which foods are the biggest offenders. We’ve rounded up some of the most common high sodium favorites to get you started.
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