Lately I’ve noticed that toddlers and sodium has been in the spotlight in the news (example). I received a few emails asking about how much sodium I feed Hailey and to be honest, I didn’t know. I decided to look into it a little more. The American Heart Association suggests that children have no more than 1,500mg of sodium each day.
Eating too much sodium can contribute to a lifelong preference for saltier foods, resulting in excess strain on the kidneys and hypertension (high blood pressure) as a cumulative effect. Overall, it’s rough on the body and just not too for you.
2 Egg- 140mg
1 Tbsp Jack’s Special Salsa- 52mg
1 Banana- 1mg
1/3 grapefruit- 0mg
1/2 c barley- 3mg
1/2 c lentils- 2mg
1/4 c roasted carrots- 22mg
1 Tbsp Newmans Balsamic Dressing- 175mg
1 Chobani Champions Yogurt- 40mg
1/4 c frozen peas- 29mg
Happy Tot Pouch- 0mg
2 full Graham crackers- 140mg
black bean burger- homemade, so I estimated using info for canned black beans that have been rinsed- 280mg
1/4 avocado- 2mg
1 Tbsp ketchup- 150mg
16 ounces whole milk- 250mg
She isn’t far from the American Heart Association recommended recommended limit of 1,500mg per day… and I felt like this day she ate pretty cleanly!
It really made me wonder where her sodium intake level would be if it had been a different day where we used more convenience foods or if she regularly ate foods that many kids eat on a day to day basis. Even without downing salty potato chips or sprinkling any table salt on your food, it wouldn’t take long to fly by 1,500mg without knowing it. How?
2 Tbsp Ranch = 260mg sodium
55 Goldfish = 250mg sodium
2 ounces deli turkey = 510mg sodium
It wouldn’t be unusual to see all three of the above items in one meal, which would cover over 2/3 of your child’s total sodium allotment. Crazy!
Even grabbing a seemingly healthy item can be deceiving…
1 cup (1/2 can) ravioli serving = 700mg sodium
So what is a health conscious parent to do? Here are some easy ideas for reducing sodium intake for toddlers AND adults.
- Fresh is best. Use fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and grains to prepare your own food at home.
- For convenience, use frozen vegetables and fruits (without sauces or syrups) instead of canned.
- Rinse canned beans to eliminate roughly 40% of the sodium.
- Eat at home. Restaurants, especially fast food, are in the business of making things taste good; they aren’t overly concerned with your health. They add excess butter and salt to appeal to our senses.
- Use fresh and dried herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt or salt-based blends.
- Use condiments sparingly. It’s amazing how quickly the sodium in dips, sauces and dressings can add up.
Do you pay attention to sodium?
How do you ensure you limit your intake?