In the March 2013 issue of Cooking Light, there was an article about watching your salt intake and ways to lower sodium. I’m always on the lookout for this type of thing since I know kids are really susceptible to having too much sodium in their diet. For example, I buy organic canned black beans because they have 15 mg of sodium per serving as compared to the 460 mg (!!!) per serving of regular canned black beans. Even the low sodium non-organic variety have around 125 mg of sodium per serving. Shocking that the “low sodium” beans have more than the regular organic beans, right? Precisely why it’s so important to look at the labels.
Anyway, I was planning on posting about this today anyway, but then Cooking Light published a newscast yesterday about sodium intake for toddlers and the timing was just too perfect.
It’s no surprise that processed and prepackaged foods, such as hot dogs, boxed mac and cheese, and cereals, are the big offenders when it comes to high sodium. But did you know that 75% of foods aimed at children were deemed too high in sodium by the study? I found that staggering (and sobering).
The study was conducted by the CDC and monitored 1100 different foods all targeted toward children ages 1-3 years. The study concluded that a food was too high in sodium if it contained 210 mg or more of sodium per serving. The recommended daily intake of sodium for a toddler is 1500 mg per day.
Aside from checking the labels on your canned beans, here are a few other ways to watch your family’s sodium intake:
- If you buy frozen veggies, make sure they say no salt added.
- Use kosher salt instead of regular table salt—it contains 25% less sodium.
- Drain and rinse your canned beans, even the organic or low-sodium ones, to save even more in the sodium department.
- Be wary of prepacked, prepared foods—convenient usually = LOTS of salt.
- Try not to add salt to your food, especially for your kids, where possible. It’s totally fine to add as a seasoning, but just don’t overdo it.
- Make your own or buy organic/low sodium marinara since it’s notoriously high in sodium.
- CHECK THE LABELS! Even so-called “healthy” foods can surprise you—wheat bread, cottage cheese, and peanut butter are all known to be high in sodium.
Of course, cooking fresh, healthy meals is always a great way to watch what your family is eating and control the bad stuff!