A recent CDC report found that more than 90 percent of U.S. children aged 6-18 years eat more sodium than the recommended daily allowance because of the prevalence of salty foods. Prepackaged and canned foods along with restaurant foods are big factors in this high salt consumption.
The CDC’s 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey allowed CDC researchers to determine about 43 percent of sodium eaten by children comes from the 10 foods they eat most often: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups.
“Too many children are consuming way too much sodium, and the result will be risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. said to Food Safety News. “Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker. Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.”
U.S. children ages 6-18 eat about 3300 mg of sodium a day, most of which is already in the food prior to purchase. About 65 percent of this sodium comes from store foods; 13 percent comes from fast food and pizza restaurants; and 9 percent comes from the school cafeteria food, according to the CDC report on salt intake. The recommended salt intake is less than 2300 mg per day for most people. Some high risk individuals should consume less than 1500 mg per day (those with high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes, anyone over 51 and African Americans of any age, according to the CDC).
Avoid these 10 salty foods to lower your child’s daily sodium intake.
1. Pizza: Whether it’s frozen or delivery, pizza contains nearly 25 percent of the recommended daily salt intake. A 4 ounce slice of frozen pizza, plain cheese, with regular crust contains 370 – 730 mg of sodium. A 4 oz slice restaurant pizza, plain cheese, regular crust contains 510 – 760 of sodium.
2. Bread and Rolls: While it may come as a surprise, a single slice of white bread contains 80 – 230 mg of salt. Add butter and garlic salt to the top of a roll and the sodium shoots even higher.
3. Cold Cuts/Cured Meats: Just 3 ounces of turkey breast, deli or pre-packaged luncheon meat, contains 450 – 1,050 mg of sodium. Don’t even get me started on cured bacon.
4. Savory Snacks: I hear from my daughters every day about their friends’ lunches. Thankfully, not in a jealous manner, but they tell me about them. Most of them contain a bag of potato chips. Just a single ounce of plain potato chips contains 50 – 200 mg of sodium.
5: Sandwiches: Double up the bread—a single slice of white bread contains 80 – 230 mg of salt—add 3 ounces of turkey breast, deli or pre-packaged luncheon meat 450 – 1,050 and you’ve got a minimum of 610 mg of sodium before you even add cheese or condiments. Go for a fast food sandwich with herb and cheese bread? Tack on a few hundred more mg of sodium.
6: Cheese: This is a doozy. A 1-ounce slice of processed American cheese (packaged or deli) contains 330 – 460 mg of salt. Eek!
7: Breaded Chicken: While plain chicken breast, 4 ounces, contains 40 – 330 mg, it only gets worse from there. Just 3 ounces of breaded chicken strips have 430 – 900 mg of salt and the same amount of frozen chicken nuggets have 200 – 570 mg.
8: Pastas: How about some canned pasta rings with meat sauce? A single cup contains 530 – 980 mg of salt.
9: Mexican Dishes: Three small frozen taquitos contain 330-700 mg of sodium.
10: Soups: Homemade soup is super healthy. And relatively low in sodium. But the canned stuff is another story entirely. One cup of canned chicken noodle soup, prepared contains 100 – 940 mg of sodium!
To reduce your child’s salt intake, avoid these top 10 foods and choose lower salt options.