Salt – the Facts by Theresa McCarthy, Nutritionist, from Happy Tums

I thought it might be a good idea to give you all more insight into why we should really reduce the salt intake when we are feeding our little ones and give you more of an understanding why this topic is so important for us to teach and for you to implement.

Without getting too scientific, common salt is a mineral which is comprised predominantly from sodium chloride and yes, we do need some salt in our bodies to help with many different functions including the transmission of nerve impulses and maintaining a balance of fluid in our bodies.  But, too much salt can have a very detrimental effect on our bodies, especially the affect it can have on our kidneys.

From 6 months, our babies need no more than 1g of salt per day which is the equivalent of 2 slices of bread. It is important to point out that salt is common in products such as bread and cheese so just make sure they are not having too many cheese sandwiches each day!  As a general guide, a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g of salt per 100g and low in salt if it contains less than 0.3g of salt per 100g

So, in order to help you guys as you are starting to wean or if you are weaning already, our top tips to reduce the salt intake for your little ones (and maybe yourselves!) are as follows:

  • Check all labelling of products. The traffic light system is a good indication of a high, medium or low salt content product.
  • Try and make your foods if you can, especially things like sauces which can be very high in salt
  • Don’t add extra salt to dishes for your little ones.
  • Use very low salt stock cubes
  • Avoid salty gravies and things like soy sauce and fish sauce
  • Use un-salted butter
  • Avoid processed salty meats such as ham, bacon, salamis and chorizo. When the second ingredient on a packet of chorizo is salt and 100g contains 3.5g of salt – this is NOT advisable as a suitable food for a baby or child.
  • Don’t remove cheese or bread from the diet at all, but just don’t give your little ones lots of both each day. And look out for low salt cheeses such as the Indian cheese Paneer which is very low salt.

You can read a more blogs from Happy Tums here

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