In the First 1000 Days, reducing your toddler’s salt intake will benefit their blood pressure in adulthood.
Salt is important for your toddler’s growth and development as it plays a role in muscle, stomach and nerve function and is also required for healthy blood.
But your toddler only really needs a very small amount of salt. Too much salt can make your toddler develop a preference for salty foods and research shows us that your toddler’s salt intake now can actually influence your toddler’s blood pressure right into adulthood….hard to believe I know.
So it’s important not to add salt when cooking your toddler’s meals and also not shake salt on their food at the dinner table. Herbs and spices can be used as an alternative to salt.
It is also important to be aware of hidden salt in the foods you give to your toddler. A lot of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy. Processed foods such as processed meat products (chicken nuggets, fish fingers, and sausages), adult ready-meals, canned foods, and sauces all tend to contain high amount of salt in them. That’s why it’s best to choose fresh meat, fresh vegetables, make sauces at home, and to choose canned foods with no added salt.
Gravy, stock cubes, tomato ketchup, brown sauce, and soya sauce all contain a lot of salt so try to avoid adding them to your little ones meals.
How to Manage Your Toddler’s Salt Intake
Make meals at home from fresh ingredients as opposed to relying on ready-made, processed foods.
Add herbs and spices as well as strong flavoured ingredients like onions, peppers, garlic, and ginger to foods.
Read labels on foods to check that the salt content is not too much for your toddler. Choose foods that contain ‘no added salt’ or no more than 0.12g of sodium or 0.3g of salt per 100g/100ml.
Add salt during cooking or shake salt on your toddler’s meal at the dinner table.
Give your toddler adult ready-meals or take-away foods.
Give salty crisps or snacks throughout the day.
Use packet sauces, tomato ketchup, brown sauce, gravy, or soya sauce in toddler’s meals.