Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers
Nearly all of us eat too much sodium, which is found in salt. This includes most children. Most salt that Americans eat comes from processed foods and foods eaten away from home.
The taste for salt is learned. Adding less or no salt and choosing foods lower in salt can help your preschooler learn to like foods with a less salty taste.
Eating less salt is an important way to help your preschooler stay healthy as they grow. This may reduce their risk for high blood pressure and some chronic diseases when they are adults. The recommended daily limit for sodium is less than 1500 milligrams for children 1 to 3 years old, and less than 1900 milligrams for children 4 to 8 years old.
To eat less salt:
- Compare sodium content for similar foods, using the Nutrition Facts label to select brands lower in sodium. For example, a cup of tomato soup may have from 700 to 1260 milligrams of sodium.
- Look for "no salt added" or "low sodium" food products.
- Prepare foods with little or no added salt.
- Rinse canned foods such as beans with water before use to reduce the amount of salt.
Also look for foods that are good sources of potassium, which counteracts some of sodium's effects on blood pressure. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, beet greens, white beans, potatoes, tomato puree and paste, and soybeans and fruits like bananas, dried plums (prunes), cantaloupe, honeydew, and orange juice are examples of foods to choose for potassium.