A recent survey from Organix reveals 85% of parents are shocked to find some baby finger foods and toddler snacks contain almost the same level of salt as a regular bag of adult crisps. To mark National Salt Awareness Week, we caught up with Dr. Frankie Phillips.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Recent news reports and the #FoodYouCanTrust campaign run by TV presenter Cherry Healey and organic baby and toddler snack food brand Organix have put salt in the headlines. A key issue being highlighted is the unnecessary inclusion of added salt in foods for little ones. Children need a diet low in salt. However, salty snacks aimed for adults are completely unsuitable for little ones because of the high sodium content, so too are baby finger foods and toddler snacks that contain comparable levels of salt.

So, here are 10 things parents need to know about salt from a nutrition perspective.

  1. Sodium (found in salt as sodium chloride) is needed for healthy nerves and muscles and to keep cells healthy in the body.
  2. A small amount of sodium is naturally present in breastmilk with a similar amount also found in infant formula – and this provides the right amount for a baby’s needs.
  3. If a baby or toddler is given salty foods, over time they develop a preference for salty tastes and this can lead to eating too much salt, with consequences even for their adult health.
  4. There’s no nutritional need to add salt to foods for little ones, and neither is it necessary for flavour when herbs, spices and tasty ingredients can be used to give flavour.
  5. Sodium is naturally present in some foods but adding salt to food provides far higher levels of sodium than a toddler needs.
  6. From weaning up to 12 months, babies should have no more than 1g of salt (0.4g of sodium) per day.
  7. For toddlers between 1 - 3 years the maximum amount of salt per day is 2g (0.8mg), that's less than half a teaspoon.
  8. On average salt intakes should be lower than the guide maximum – this includes salt naturally present in foods, such as bread and cheese, and not just added salt.
  9. Too much salt can cause damage to immature kidneys.
  10. In adults, a high salt intake is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

This video featuring Cherry Healey helps explain the issue a little bit further. The best way to find food you can trust is to turn the packet around and check the ingredient list for: no added salt, and no added sugar or flavourings.

Join Cherry in campaigning for #FoodYouCanTrust by sharing what you find on the baby and toddler aisle.

Tagged in