If you choose to continue buying commercially prepared meals for your child, you will need to start checking labels and keeping track of how much sodium is in the daily total. The AHA recommends no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day for toddlers.
Some of the toddler favorites, like macaroni and cheese or pizza, have some of the highest sodium levels. Some of the food containers contain more than one serving, so you need to make sure you know how much food you are giving your child to get an accurate amount of all vitamins and nutrients. But do not be fooled that just become something advertises vegetables on the label. For example, V8 is not a good substitute for actual vegetables. While it promotes, “a full serving of vegetables,” in every serving, it does not promote the 469mg of sodium in a 9oz serving of regular V8.
However, an easier solution is to make your own food at home where you can control the ingredients and amount of salt. Making your own food also allows you to maintain your child’s favorites, like that mac and cheese, at more reasonable sodium levels. Prepare foods from their most basic forms. Try using spices to flavor food rather than salt. Frozen vegetables heat up in the microwave faster than most of the prepared meals, and fresh fruit only needs to be cut into bit sized pieces. You can even stock your refrigerator with proportioned containers at the beginning of the week so you can grab and go.
Remember, habits, including eating habits, that are established early in life tend to be the ones that stick around for a life time. With that in mind, you can help spare your child future problems with high blood pressure by trying to control sodium levels in the foods she eats now.