All you need to know about sugar and salt for your kids.
18-04-2014
One of the biggest challenges for parents is to limit the amount of sugar and salt in their children’s diets.

Limiting sugar
The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake for children is limited to 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. Cutting back on candy and cookies is only part of the solution. Large amounts of added sugar can also be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, frozen dinners, ketchup, and fast food.
  • Don't ban sweets entirely.Having a no sweets rule is an invitation for cravings and overindulging when given the chance.
  • Give recipes a makeover.Many recipes taste just as good with less sugar.
  • Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than three times the daily recommended limit for children! Try fresh juices with no added sugar.
  • Cut down on processed foods, such as white bread and cakes, which cause blood sugar to go up and down, and can leave kids tired and sapped of energy.
  • Create your own popsicles and frozen treats. Freeze 100% fruit juice in an ice-cube tray with plastic spoons as popsicle handles. Or try freezing grapes, berries, banana pieces, or peach slices, then topping with a little chocolate sauce or whipped cream for an amazing treat.
Avoid foods that impair mood
Certain foods and drinks can make kids and teens more vulnerable to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • A recent study found that people who drank four or more cups of soda or sweetened fruit drinks a day—including diet versions—had a much higher risk for depression.
  • Excessive amounts of caffeine from soda, energy drinks, or coffee drinks can trigger anxiety in kids and teens and may also aggravate feelings of depression when the caffeine wears off.
  • A diet high in processed foods, such as fried food, sweet desserts, refined flour and cereals, and processed meats, can increase a child or teen’s risk for anxiety and depression.
Limiting salt
One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. Some guidelines for the maximum salt intake for children:

If a Child is.... They should eat less than...
1 to 3 1,500 milligrams a day
4 to 8 1,900 milligrams a day
9 to 13 2,200 milligrams a day
14 to 18 2,300 milligrams a day
  • Avoid processed, packaged, restaurant, and fast food. Processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit. Many fast food meals are also loaded with sodium.
  • Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.
  • Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels.
  • Choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products.
Ages
2 to 3
Calories
1,000-1,400, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
2-4 ounces
Fruits
1-1.5 cups
Vegetables
1-1.5 cups
Grains
3-5 ounces
Dairy
2-2.5 cups
Ages
4 to 8
Calories
1,200-2,000, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
3-5.5 ounces
Fruits
1-2 cups
Vegetables
1.5-2.5 cups
Grains
4-6 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
4 to 8
Calories
1,200-1,800, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
3-5 ounces
Fruits
1-1.5 cups
Vegetables
1.5-2.5 cups
Grains
4-6 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
9 to 13
Calories
1,600-2,600, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5-6.5 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
2-3.5 cups
Grains
5-9 ounces
Dairy
3 cups
Ages
9 to 13
Calories
1,400-2,200, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
4-6 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
1.5-3 cups
Grains
5-7 ounces
Dairy
2.5-3 cups
Ages
14 to 18
Calories
2,000-3,200, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5.5-7 ounces
Fruits
2-2.5 cups
Vegetables
2.5-4 cups
Grains
6-10 ounces
Dairy
3 cups
Ages
14 to 18
Calories
1,800-2,400, depending on growth and activity level
Protein
5-6.5 ounces
Fruits
1.5-2 cups
Vegetables
2.5-3 cups
Grains
6-8 ounces
Dairy
3 cups