A parents guide to salt
Salt Awareness Week (20-26th March)
Health care professionals advise that it’s important that young children have a diet with minimal salt. However, knowing how much salt children should have or which foods contain salt can be difficult for parents to navigate.
Official guidelines advise that children aged 1-3 should have no more than 2g of salt a day (a third of a teaspoon), much of which will already be contained in foods naturally. However, new research* from Kiddyum, the range of frozen meals for children aged 1-4, shows that 86 per cent of parents are not aware of these guidelines.
Although 64 per cent of parents say they trust that food marketed for young children will be low in salt, research by Kiddyum showed this is often not the case. Nutritional analysis** of a range of children’s foods revealed many contain, and are high in, salt:
• Seven out of ten breakfast cereals popular with children contain added salt
• A portion of Spaghetti hoops with a couple of slices of toast alone can provide 117 per cent of the maximum daily amount of salt for a child
• Out of six prepared savoury meals for children, half contained over 1/3 the maximum recommended amount of salt and one meal contained 99 per cent of the daily maximum serving
• A well-known crisp brand aimed at children features a table on the front stating it contains just four per cent of the daily recommended amount of salt. However, what parents won’t realise is that this table is based on adult guidelines and the amount of salt would in fact be considered high for a young child.
Kiddyum’s nutritionist Chloe Joyner said: “It’s really important that young children have a low salt diet and naturally it’s something a lot of parents are concerned about. But it can be tricky for parents to know if a food is high in salt or whether a product contains added salt because sometimes it is hidden in the ingredients, or labels and tables can be misleading.”
To make it a little easier for parents, Chloe Joyner nutritionist for Kiddyum shares her tips to help you know your salt when it comes to children’s food:
1. Don’t just look at front of pack claims or tables, check the ingredients to see if salt has been added
2. Look out for other sources of salt such as Worcester sauce, ketchup and sundried tomato paste
3. Remember processed meats such as bacon and sausages are usually high in salt so try to watch your child’s intake of these foods
4. If you are buying a savoury meal, check if the stock used contains salt. Sometimes salt is hidden in stock and will be shown in brackets or even in ‘sub ingredients’
5. Salt isn’t always just used in savoury foods, it can also be found in things like breakfast cereals and some cakes and biscuits so check the ingredients
6. Try to buy tinned food in spring water rather than brine. Brine is salt water so it increases the salt content of the food within it
7. Try to be mindful of ready- made sauces and condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise. They usually contain salt
8. Bread contains salt, so while it can be part of a healthy balanced diet, be aware how many slices your child is eating throughout their day. Remember that each slice contains approximately 20% of their daily salt maximum intake
9. Most processed foods such as ready-made sauces or soups tend to contain added salt – some of which can be very high for a child. I would advise to try and make your own where you can or buy a child specific ready-meal that contains no added salt or sugar
10. Stock cubes typically contain a lot of salt so do watch how much and how often you use them in food for young children. If you can, try making your own stock or buy a ready-made stock which doesn’t contain added salt, there are some specifically aimed at babies and young children available from supermarkets.
Find out more about https://kiddyum.co.uk/