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Most Useful Questions Regarding Hidden Salt In Your Child’s Diet

For 6 month–2 year old kids

Is your child eating a lot of salty food? If yes, it can have an adverse impact on their health in future.

You won’t even know how much salt your child is consuming as it is mostly hidden in a lot of food items! If you want to know more about it, here are a few useful questions related to salt in your child’s diet:

What is the role of salt (sodium) in our body?

Food without salt is unheard of. The elemental name of salt is sodium chloride. Salt in regulated amounts is required to maintain the fluid balance in our body. Exceeding of these limits though will lead to higher blood pressure and many other serious health issues.

Why should we avoid salt in our baby's food?

Babies are usually quite fast in developing a liking towards salty food. This liking is likely to be carried on to their adulthood and can thus put them at risk to various health issues later.

What are the sources of hidden salt in foods?

Apart from table salt that we sprinkle on our dishes, there are a lot of hidden salt in our food that we do not know about. Pre-packaged and processed foods are the main contributors to sodium in food. Some food items with hidden salts are as follows:

  • Pickles, pappads and readymade garam masalas are high in salt.
  • Chips, salted nuts, pizzas, ready-to-eat meals, wraps, sandwiches, sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise, sausages, soup powders and many such products are high sodium foods.
  • Even food items that do not actually taste salty like breads, biscuits, bakes deans, cereals, pastries have salt in them.
  • Food additives that are mostly used to enhance the flavour in processed foods like monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, baking powder and baking soda are all different forms of salt.

What are the substitutes for salt that can be used in children’s foods?

To substitute for the flavour of salt, you can add tangy flavoured ingredients like lemon juice, tamarind, tomatoes in their food. Even dried or fresh herbs do the trick.

How do we avoid giving hidden salt to our children?

Some tips to avoid giving hidden salt to your kids are as follows:

  • Do not add any salt to your baby's food and if for any reason you are giving ready-made food for your baby make sure there is no salt added to it.
  • Home cooked meals are safe as one is aware of how they are made.
  • Always check the nutrition labels before you purchase anything from the market so that you know the sodium present in foods.
  • When you have a choice, always choose no or low sodium foods.

What are the other benefits of avoiding salt in your baby's diet?

Salt usually masks the flavour of the dish. Skipping salt allows your baby to explore new and fresh flavours of the food and ultimately helps the baby in developing a healthy palate through their growing years.