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Sodium and Kids

girl holding salt shaker while reading nutrition label on box

Being concerned about sodium is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Recent surveys show that most British Columbians, including children, are eating too much sodium.

Healthy children need only 1000 to 1500 mg of sodium per day.

Fast Fact - Low in Sodium is 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.

Just like adults, kids can develop a taste and preference for salty foods high in sodium. Over time and as they enter adulthood this may lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

Many of the processed snack foods on the market, popular with kids and convenient for parents, are often loaded with sodium. Snack foods commonly high in sodium include:

  • chips
  • crackers
  • salted pretzels
  • popcorn
  • instant noodles
  • beef jerky and pepperoni sticks
  • nachos and cheese sauce
  • packaged lunch kits
  • spreadable cheese and cracker kits

DID YOU KNOW? To prevent choking, children should always sit down while eating. Cut foods into small pieces and spread peanut butter thinly.

It is important to get kids used to the taste of foods without salt early by offering them a variety of healthy foods. The good news is that there are lower sodium options to choose from that are still fun for kids and convenient for parents.

Try these ideas:

Try this... Instead of this...
Low sodium crackers with almond butter Spreadable cheese and cracker kits
Banana, orange, apple or any piece of fruit Salted pretzels
Puffed cereal with milk Bran and raisin cereal
Fruit cups packed in water Pudding
Swiss cheese*, baby carrots and mini bran muffins Packaged lunch kits
Lunch box granola bars Chocolate chip cookies
100% fruit/fruit & vegetable leather or bite snacks Animal shaped cheese crackers
Unsweetened apple/fruit sauce Breakfast tarts
Vanilla yogurt with fruit on the bottom Cottage cheese and fruit
No salt added peanut butter on apple slices Regular peanut butter on crackers
Hard boiled egg Pepperoni stick
Hummus with pita Nachos and cheese sauce
* Many cheeses are high in sodium, make sure to read the label and eat in moderation.

Allergy Alert:

Are you concerned about food allergies? Talk to your child's doctor, a registered dietitian, or a public health nurse.

The information on the Healthy Eating pages of the HealthyFamilies BC website is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a physician or other qualified healthcare professional.

Last Updated: August 6, 2013