Foods High in Salt

Foods High in Salt
Child Nutrition Basics

By Vincent Iannelli, M.D., About.com Guide

Adults often know that they should avoid a lot of added salt in their diets, and in fact, are sometimes on salt restriction diets because of health problems, especially high blood pressure.

Eating salt is often thought to be less of a problem for kids though, as many parents assume that their kids don’t have a lot of salt in their diets. This is only true if you don’t add much salt to the foods that you cook. Keep in mind that many of the processed and prepared foods that are popular with parents and kids — usually because they are quick and easy — are often loaded with salt.

Some of the Oscar Meyer Lunchables, for example, can have up to 1440mg of sodium per serving.

Why is monitoring your child’s salt intake important? Some studies have reported that children with low-salt diets may avoid high blood pressure as adults. And maybe even more important, salt intake has been linked to childhood obesity, as kids with high-salt diets have been reported to drink a lot of high-sugar, high-calorie drinks, which increases their risk for obesity.

Foods High in Salt

Of course, any foods to which you add table salt (sodium chloride) will be high in salt.

In addition, foods that are usually high in sodium (more than 400mg per serving) include:

Onion soup
Foods made with seasoned bread crumbs
Sauerkraut
Spaghetti sauce (ready to serve)
Potato salad
Cheese sauce
Baked beans with franks
Macaroni and cheese
Pizza slice
Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, and many other fast foods
Beef stew (from a can)
Cottage cheese
Minestrone soup
Submarine sandwiches
Tunafish salad
Pretzels, potato chips, and other snacks
Sliced ham, bologna, salami and other cold cuts
Cream-style corn (from a can)
Pickles
Beef jerky snacks
Egg bagels

This is just a partial list, but reviewing it and then getting in the habit of reading food labels can help you spot other foods high in salt. As you can now see, high-salt items are typically many canned foods (especially soups), cold cuts, snack foods, and fast food.

Low Salt Diet

Most kids don’t actually need a low-salt diet. Instead, they need a normal salt diet and to learn to avoid too many foods that are high in salt and to eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods. Although there is no specific recommended daily allowance for sodium in children, unlike the adult RDA of 2,400mg of sodium a day, a typical salt intake for kids would usually be up to about:

1000-1500mg for children 2-3 years of age
1200-1900mg for children 4-8 years of age
1500-2200mg for children 9-13 years of age
1500-2300mg for children 14-18 years of age
In general, if you simply don’t add extra salt to the foods you prepare and your child eats and avoid a lot of the foods high in salt, then you shouldn’t have to worry about your child’s salt intake.

Keep in mind that like adults, kids can develop a taste or preference for salty foods. That makes it important to avoid salty foods and not add extra salt to foods when your child first begins solids as an infant and toddler.

And if you are concerned about your child’s salt intake, especially if he is overweight, then look for more foods that are low in salt, with less than 140mg of salt per serving.

Salt vs. Sodium

Although people often use the words salt and sodium interchangeably, they are different. Salt is actually made up of sodium chloride (NaCl).

One teaspoon of salt (3g) equals about 1200mg of sodium, and it is the mg of sodium that you will see on a food’s nutrition label.

Sources:

High salt intake, its origins, its economic impact, and its effect on blood pressure. Roberts WC – Am J Cardiol – 1-DEC-2001; 88(11): 1338-46.

IOM 2004 Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18. Sodium, Na (mg) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.

Salt Intake Is Related to Soft Drink Consumption in Children and Adolescents: A Link to Obesity? Feng J. He, Naomi M. Marrero, and Graham A. MacGregor. Hypertension. 2008;51:629-634.

http://pediatrics.about.com/od/nutrition/a/0208_foods_salt.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: