Toddlers are delicate and that makes feeding them a tough task. The maximum amount of salt intake per 4-6 year old kids is 3g. But, according to CDC study, many packed meals and snacks contain too much salt and sugar.
Many packaged meals and snacks for toddlers contain worrisome amounts of salt and sugar, potentially creating a taste for foods that may contribute to obesity and other health risks, according to a new government study.
About 7 in 10 toddler dinners studied contained too much salt. Most cereal bars, breakfast pastries and snacks for infants and toddlers contained extra sugars, according to the study by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers advise parents to read food labels carefully and select healthier choices.
Read food labels at the grocery store when buying food for your baby, before putting anything into your shopping cart. I can’t stress this point enough. Many moms and parents across America may be unaware of this important factor. Some may be mesmerized by the beautiful packaging or lovely presentation. The bottom line is, always read the label. It is also essential to buy natural foods such as vegetables, legumes and fruits and then prepare them at home. This way, you will be able to monitor the amount of salt you use. It is best to keep salt and other additives to minimal levels. There is good reason for this. Salt does add taste to food but too much salt gets baby addicted to it and this may result in conditions and some complications later in life.
Does salt contribute to obesity?
Most people do not ever think that salt could have anything to do with obesity. While it may not cause it, research indicates that it is a factor. To be on the safe side it would be better if we avoided the risk altogether. When we start out our kids on a salty diet, it will be harder for them to quit when they are older. Nobody wants to be the reason why their 30 year old son is struggling with obesity.
The study notes that almost 1 in 4 U.S. children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese — and that almost 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 3 exceed the recommended maximum level of daily salt, which is 1,500 milligrams. Excess sugar and salt can contribute to obesity and elevated blood pressure as early as childhood, but also later in life.
What about blood pressure?
We are now seeing a rise in cases of children suffering lifestyle diseases that are traditionally associated with adults. High blood pressure is one of these. Research has linked this problem to high salt intake. You would be advised to avoid the stress of treating this issue by avoiding these kiddy meals that deliver more problems than they let on.
“We also know that about 1 in 9 children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age and that sodium — excess sodium — is related to increased blood pressure,” said the CDC’s Mary Cogswell, the study’s lead author. “Blood pressure tracks from when children are young up through adolescence into when they’re adults. Eating foods which are high in sodium can set a child up for high blood pressure and, later on, for cardiovascular disease.”
What don’t manufacturers want you to know?
Manufacturers will always give you an outline of why their product is the best. You never hear them tell you say, “our food may contain more salt that is recommended, but buy it anyway”. This is all the more reason you need to be careful especially considering how sensitive kids can be. At least with beer and cigarette ads they have a warning on there. All you hear from manufacturers is how good and how nutritious their products are.
The researchers collected data on foods available in 2012. They did not list brand names, but foods studied included popular brands of baby food, toddler dinners including packaged macaroni and cheese, mini hot dogs, rice cakes, crackers, dried-fruit snacks and yogurt treats.
The Grocery Manufacturers of America, a trade group whose members include makers of foods for infants and toddlers, issued a statement saying the study “does not accurately reflect the wide range of healthy choices available in today’s marketplace . . . because it is based on 2012 data that does not reflect new products with reduced sodium levels.”
It then comes down to you as a parent to protect your child from too much salt. Since the do not understand the dangers it’s up to you to know for them. They may cry and beg for you to get them those nuggets. They may even hate you for a few hours but they will thank you when they are old enough to understand. Manufacturers will obviously want to protect their image even where there are facts to back up allegations.
The study “could needlessly alarm and confuse busy parents as they strive to develop suitable meal options that their children will enjoy,” the group said.
The researchers said theirs is the most recent, comprehensive data on commercial foods for young children. Cogswell acknowledged there have been some improvements in the marketplace and said the findings are not all negative.
At the end of the day, you have the responsibility to ensure that your child eats healthy. While they should enjoy food sometimes some foods are just not worth it. You should always be on the lookout when it comes to what your kids put in their body. This will go a long way in preventing future problems. Regardless of the hype around a brand, you it to your child to take a closer look to ensure that you are not setting them up for future problems. It could be as simple as reading the label or encouraging more natural foods and fruits.