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Low Sodium Snacking for Kids!

July 26, 2011 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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If you grew up in the 1970’s, like me, you might recall the chorus of the 1969 hit by the pop-rock group ‘Steam.’  I would like to believe that the “na, na… goodbye” was an early, and subtle, reference to lowering sodium intake (whose chemical name is abbreviated ‘Na+’). But this was obviously not the case.

When I was young, my mother would get stuck on long phone calls with my verbally exuberant grandmother. These phone calls regularly ran over into my snack time. Given that the 1970s phone cord confined my mother to a 4-foot radius from the wall, my snack options were limited to what was within her reach. She would stretch her body as far as she could, pull open a cupboard door with her toes, and kick a cracker box at me. When it comes to kids’ snacks, not much has changed.

Although we are no longer confined to snacking options based on the length of our telephone cord, overall, convenience is still top of the list when it comes to what is served. Most people rely on snacks that can be eaten right from the cupboard or fridge. The problem with much of this highly convenient snack food is that it comes with high levels of sodium. Since children only need 1000-1500mg of sodium per day, high sodium snacking makes it very difficult to stay within the recommended range. In trying to collect lower sodium snack suggestions for this posting,

I went on-line and did a ‘kids’ snack ideas’ search. I was inundated with ideas that involved me carving faces into apples and using toothpicks to pin on grape eyes and raisin teeth. This was NOT what I had in mind. So, I went to the grocery store with pen and paper in hand and did some label reading.

Below are some of the ideas that I came up with. What are your ideas? 

Try this... Instead of this... Sodium saved...
100% fruit/fruit & vegetable leather or bite snacks (5-10mg per snack-size package) Animal shaped cheese crackers (230mg sodium/28g snack-size package) 220-225mg
Unsweetened apple/fruit sauce (negligible sodium/ 111g container) Breakfast Tarts, (160mg/pastry) 160mg
Vanilla yogurt with fruit on the bottom (55-65mg/125g container) Vanilla Pudding (140 mg/99 gram cup) 75-85mg
No salt added Peanut Butter (0mg/Tablespoon) on apple slices (negligible sodium) Regular Peanut Butter (70mg/Tablespoon) on toast 270mg
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Comments (1)


Posted on Thursday August 4, 2011 a 2:18pm

I love finding links like this and am glad to see you on FB. I have a daycare and really try to educate parents about healthier choices, especially about sodium and sugar amounts.


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