Monday 29th February – Sunday 6th March marks the 17th Salt Awareness Week, 20 years after the charity organisation CASH set out to reduce salt intake in daily meals. This year, the focus of the campaign is to be aware of hidden salt in our foods, as well as highlighting the importance of giving children a low salt diet early in life.
Whilst parents and carers are already aware eating too much salt is bad for you, the dangers of hidden salt can go unnoticed. Real progress has been made in the last 10 years by the food industry, government and health organisations like CASH. A number of food groups now have up to 50% less salt than 10 years ago but there is still work to be done to ensure we only consume the UK maximum daily salt limit of 6g.
At Tops Day Nurseries we have recently introduced new low sugar menus to 15 settings with plans to provide the healthy meals across the Tops family and work against the current obesity crisis in the UK. We only use foods with natural sugars and do not add any ourselves with sweeteners or other forms, which means the foods we provide are also naturally low in salt. Although salt is not a direct cause of obesity, it is a contributing factor to the fluid intake of children as salt makes you thirsty and can effect some illnesses or afflictions that may be triggered by being overweight and unhealthy.
By introducing children to salt at a young age will mean they become accustomed to it and it will be harder for them to reduce their intake as they grow. Here are 5 tips to help reduce salt intake in children:
- For healthier snacks, choose fruit or vegetables such as carrot or celery sticks. If you are going to have crisps or crackers, check the label and choose the ones lower in salt.
- Compare Nutrition Facts labels to choose the lowest salt option before you buy.
- Do not add any salt when preparing weaning foods and limit the amount of high salt foods that your child eats. Also avoid using processed foods that are not made specifically for babies such as cooking sauces as these can be high in added salt.
- Homemade meals cooked using fresh ingredients are naturally lower in salt than convenience meals and processed food.
- Involve your kids when you’re preparing healthy meals so they can learn from you as a role model.
If you would like any more information about our new healthy menus, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org