The Doctor is In: Steering kids away from salt - Tucson Local Media: The Doctor Is In

The Doctor is In: Steering kids away from salt

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Daniel Zoeteman, M.D.

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 4:00 am

You’ve probably made recipes that tell you to “salt to taste.” It means to trust your taste buds when it comes to adding the right amount of salt to a dish. The fact is the taste for salt is learned in childhood. Salt-loving kids turn into salt-loving adults – and that’s cause for concern.

Why? The number one medical problem associated with too much salt (sodium) intake in adults is hypertension or high blood pressure which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. It’s a problem which starts early in America: 97 percent of children and adolescents eat too much salt, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular diseases as they get older.

Eating less salt is an important way to help growing children stay healthy and lower their risk of chronic diseases when they are adults. Since we know sodium is an acquired taste, it is also reversible. Adding less or no salt and choosing foods lower in salt can help your child learn to like foods with a less salty taste.

What is the main culprit for salt in our kids’ foods?

While some dietary sodium comes from sprinkling salt on your food, removing the salt shaker from your dinner table is not enough. About three-quarters of daily salt intake comes from processed food, including breads and cereals, dairy products and processed meats such as hot dogs and lunch meat. To limit your child’s dietary sodium, you need to read food labels carefully. You’ll be surprised to find that even foods in the same category have different amounts of sodium!

Tips for making sure your kids consume less salt:

• Limit the amount of processed foods your children eat and also the portion size. Fast food, packaged snacks and convenience foods are among the biggest offenders in salt content.

• Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen, when possible.

• Learn to use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food. Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.

•Specify how you want your child’s food prepared when dining out. Ask for your dish to

be prepared without salt.

• Take control of what’s in your child’s food by cooking more at home.

As you and your family take steps to reduce sodium, you’ll actually start to appreciate foods for their true flavor. In time, your youngster will learn to enjoy how food really tastes – not just the salty flavor.

Editor’s note: Dr. Daniel Zoeteman is a Family Medicine Physician practicing with Northwest Allied Physicians.

How much sodium is OK?

Ages 1 to 3: Less than 1,500 mg daily

Ages 4 to 8: Less than 1,900 mg daily

Ages 9 to 13: Less than 2,200 mg daily

Ages 14 to 18: Less than 2,300 mg daily

To cut the salt in your child’s diet:

•Serve fewer processed foods (the stuff in boxes, cans and packages in the middle of the grocery store.)

•Read labels on everything, including bread and cereal, and search for lower-sodium choices.

•Limit fast foods and restaurant and take-out meals.

• Serve more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Source: American Heart Association Dietary Recommendations for Children and Adolescents

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Wednesday 09/03/2014

Six steps to a shorter hospital stay 

Wednesday 08/21/2013

The Doctor Is In: Give your baby a healthy start

Wednesday 07/17/2013

The Doctor Is In: Feeling Restless? It might not be “in your head”

Wednesday 06/05/2013

The Doctor Is In: Start early to prevent heart disease

Wednesday 05/01/2013

The Doctor Is In: It’s never too late to start taking care of your bones and joints

Wednesday 03/20/2013

The Doctor Is In: Colorectral cancer: Screening is the key

Wednesday 03/06/2013

The Doctor Is In: Diagnosing your heart health

Friday 02/22/2013

The Dentist is in: The work to make smiles brighter

Wednesday 01/23/2013

The Doctor Is In: Understanding food allergies in an active lifestyle

Wednesday 01/16/2013

The Dentist Is In: Why do I have bad breath? The Doctor Is In: The connection between psoriasis and arthritis

Wednesday 12/26/2012

The Doctor is In - Steps to overcoming infertility

Wednesday 12/19/2012

The Dentist Is In: The connection between the health of your mouth and the health of your body

Wednesday 11/21/2012

The Dentist Is In: A broken tooth can ruin any good meal The Doctor Is In: ’Tis the Season - How to keep off the extra pounds

Wednesday 11/14/2012

The Doctor Is In: Endometriosis: The pain is treatable if the disease is correctly diagnosed

Tuesday 11/06/2012

The Doctor Is In: Play it smart - Sports physicals can save lives

Wednesday 10/31/2012

The Doctor Is In: Advice: Breast cancer screening saves lives

Wednesday 10/10/2012

The Doctor is in: Dementia: Alzheimer’s or something else?

Wednesday 09/19/2012

The Doctor Is In: The West Nile Virus, precautions advised

Wednesday 09/05/2012

The Doctor Is In: Arthritis can strike any age

Wednesday 08/29/2012

The Doctor is in: Controlling varicose veins

Tuesday 08/14/2012

The Doctor Is In - Chronic stress can lead to chronic health conditions

Wednesday 08/08/2012

The Doctor Is In: COPD - It is preventable

Wednesday 08/01/2012

The Doctor Is In: Weight-loss surgery sheds pounds, improves health

Wednesday 07/25/2012

The Doctor is In: What to do when the wounds just won’t heal

Wednesday 07/18/2012

The doctor is in: Sleep: Good health is related to quality and quantity of slumber

Wednesday 06/27/2012

The Doctor Is In: Women living with endometriosis

Wednesday 06/13/2012

The Doctor Is In: Arthritis: Common types and treatments

Wednesday 06/06/2012

The Doctor Is In: Summer safety is important

Wednesday 05/09/2012

The Doctor Is In - How to understand your food allergies

Wednesday 05/02/2012

The Doctor Is In - Preventing cancer starts with the annual Pap test

Wednesday 04/11/2012

The Doctor Is In - How to help your kids avoid Type 2 Diabetes

Wednesday 04/04/2012

The Doctor is in: Leg pain signals heart trouble

Wednesday 03/14/2012

The Doctor Is In - Hit the hay for heart health

Wednesday 03/07/2012

The Doctor Is In: Getting headaches regularly? Is it time to see a doctor?

Wednesday 02/29/2012

The Doctor Is In - ADHD - Can the disorder be treated without medication?

Wednesday 02/22/2012

The Doctor Is In - Vitamin C: What it does, why you need it, where to find it

Wednesday 02/08/2012

The Doctor Is In - Depression: Don’t dismiss the blues

Wednesday 01/04/2012

The Doctor is In - Prediabetes: Obesity and diabetes share common risks and solutions

Wednesday 12/28/2011

The Doctor is In: Cold or allergy? How to tell the difference

Wednesday 12/21/2011

The Doctor is In: Steering kids away from salt

Wednesday 12/14/2011

The Doctor is In - Information on Childhood obesity

Friday 12/02/2011

The Doctor Is In - Don’t Be Down for the Count this Year: Cold and Flu Facts


Follow us on Facebook

Online poll