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SK - Kids' Corner: Sodium

February 26, 2013 by goldilocks

girl looking at salt shaker and food label


Being concerned about sodium is just as important for kids as it is for adults.

Recent surveys show that most British Columbians, including children, are eating too much sodium.

Healthy children need only 1000 to 1500 mg of sodium per day.

Just like adults, kids can develop a taste and preference for salty foods high in sodium. Over time and as they enter adulthood this may lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Fast Fact Low in Sodium is 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.

Many of the processed snack foods on the market, popular with kids and convenient for parents, are often loaded with sodium. Snack foods commonly high in sodium include:

  • chips
  • crackers
  • salted pretzels
  • popcorn
  • instant noodles
  • beef jerky and pepperoni sticks
  • nachos and cheese sauce
  • packaged lunch kits
  • spreadable cheese and cracker kits

To prevent choking, children should always sit down while eating. Cut foods into small pieces and spread peanut butter thinly.

It is important to get kids used to the taste of foods without salt early by offering them a variety of healthy foods. The good news is that there are lower sodium options to choose from that are still fun for kids and convenient for parents.

Try This:  Instead of this: 
 Low sodium crackers with almond butter  Spreadable cheese and cracker kits
 Banana, orange, apple or any piece of fruit  Salted pretzels
 Puffed cereal with milk  Bran and raisin cereal
 Fruit cups packed in water  Pudding
 Swiss cheese*, baby carrots and mini bran muffins  Packaged lunch kits
 Lunch box granola bars  Chocolate chip cookies
 100% fruit/fruit & vegetable leather or bite snacks   Animal shaped cheese crackers
 Unsweetened apple/fruit sauce  Breakfast tarts
 Vanilla yogurt with fruit on the bottom  Cottage cheese and fruit
 No salt added peanut butter on apple slices  Regular peanut butter on crackers
 Hard boiled egg  Pepperoni stick
 Hummus with pita  Nachos and cheese sauce
 * Many cheeses are high in sodium, make sure to read the label and eat in moderation.

Allergy Alert:

Are you concerned about food allergies? Talk to your child's doctor, a registered dietitian, or a public health nurse.


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