Up until Popo reached the wonderful age of 2, I didn’t let her eat ANYTHING that was processed or contained white sugar. I pureed all her food and baked all her snacks..even down to teething biscuits (which I will admit were a complete disaster). Of course all my family and most of my friends thought I was crazy but hey, it worked for us so a big fat ‘WHATEVER’ to what they thought.
When she turned 2, well everything changed. I let her eat anything she wanted and even though it did open up her extremely low appetite, I started becoming obsessed with reading food labels to see exactly what she was eating. And out of all the crazy things that these food companies add to our food, the one thing that really stuck out was Sodium.
I read a study which said that the foods we feed our toddlers basically groom them to become addicted to processed foods because of the high sodium they include. Now just to be clear, salt is 40% sodium. A lot of ‘western’ country doctors recommend low or zero salt diets for toddlers and babies, but in tropical regions such as Pakistan people of all ages need some salt in their diet to rehydrate.
Required or not, the amount of sodium that we eat without even realizing it is just insane. Consider this:
75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods including hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, cereals, and pancake mix
That means that without even adding salt, all these processed foods that most of us eat on a regular basis are cramming our physical systems with sodium. What’s worse is that foods that are marketed as healthy or for children also include Monosodium Glutamate (aka MSG or Chinese Salt) which is known to be bad for blood pressure and cause dehydration. Take a look at the back of this chicken soup sachet. One of the first few ingredients is MSG, then ‘Artificial Chicken Flavor’, then ‘Chicken Fat’ and then finally somewhere way below ‘Chicken Meat’. Basically you’re eating salt as soup…not exactly healthy.
So from now on in our home, we’re no longer using ‘Instant Noodles’ and ‘Instant Soup’ mixes. Instead, I made a huge batch of chicken stock and froze it in portions in the freezer. We’ll work on eliminating pancake mix next and hopefully cereals one day (if you have these in the kitchen I dare you to read the labels and keep eating them after seeing how much sodium they have) .
If you’ve got any quick ways you keep your family away from processed foods please let me know below!