MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When you grocery shop for your kids, do you read the ingredients on the label? New information suggests that what you feed your toddler and baby contains, in many cases, too much sodium and too much unneeded sugar.
Added sugars and too much sodium in meals you buy for babies and toddlers are potentially teaching them to have taste for foods that can cause obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
"Your food should have no more than 210 milligrams of sodium per serving," says Kelly Snow, a dietician with Grand Strand Medical Center. "And most foods that children eat have over 300 milligrams." The CDC says about 7 in 10 toddler dinners it studied had too much salt.. It's not something you want to worry about when you're shopping for your babies and young children.
"A lot of mothers choose to buy the jar foods. And you could go good or bad with those, too." Snow stresses checking ingredients. "And if you want your child to have green beans, then make sure that's what the jar says. Not green beans and a few other words that you can't pronounce."
Excess sodium is often thought of as a contributor to high blood pressure. The CDC also says too many snacks marketed for children have way too many added sugars. "Usually for adults I'll say like six grams of sugar or less per serving," Snow says. "Which would be good for a child too."
She suggests comparing several brands and choosing the one with the least amount of sugar. "And they'll say on the label 'natural ingredients, no preservatives,' things like that are what you want to look for."
You probably hear a lot about how healthy yogurt is for your kids, but Snow says don't just assume all yogurt is healthy. "A lot of times the yogurt, and more specifically the yogurt that has the children's things on there- like Dora, and Spiderman, or whatever it may have, those are usually the foods that have the most sugar added. And it's okay to get your child a Greek yogurt with a plain container. Because that has the least amount of sugar."
Snow says if you want your child to be healthy later, you have to help them be healthy from the beginning.