fbpx
The scoop on sodium 

The scoop on sodium 

This week at Shelley’s Good Eats we are bringing you the scoop on sodium! During this post, we endeavour to cover all the common questions and misconceptions surrounding this nutrient, as well as some practical tips for you and your family. 

What is Sodium?

Sodium is an essential mineral our bodies use to regulate and maintain specific cellular functions…because we class this mineral as essential, this means our bodies are unable to make this themselves…and so we have to consume it from our food. 

The major source of sodium we consume in our diets is sodium chloride or ‘salt’. While both of these minerals are found naturally in many foods, they are also added to many of our favourite packaged foods as a preservative or as a way of adding flavour. 

*Nutrition tip When comparing or checking the nutrition labels of your favourite packaged foods, the ‘Sodium Chloride’ or ‘salt’ content is written as ‘Sodium’ (confusing, we know!) 

Should we all be worried about sodium?

Excessive sodium and chloride intake have been shown to have negative impacts on our health, and so it is recommended to limit the amount of added sodium chloride or ‘salt’, into our diets. 

Remember that our sodium intake also includes the amount of salt we add to our cooking and at the dinner table. And as you can imagine, the daily requirement of sodium for children is much lower than it is for a fully grown adult! Therefore, it is best to limit the amount of salt you add to your cooking so that your kids are not overdoing it on their requirements for the day!

However, since a lot of Australian’s are getting a large majority of their sodium requirements from processed and packaged foods, it is important that we understand how to read and compare food labels, in order to choose the best options. 

How do I know what to look for on a food label?

Here at Shelley’s good Eats, we know that it can be hard for parents to know what foods they should choose to feed their kids! We are so spoilt for options at the supermarket, that the idea of comparing food labels can feel a bit overwhelming. That’s why we have decided to break down the label reading barriers and give you all a simple sodium guide, based on the information in our Australian Dietary Guidelines. 

sodium in tomatoes

  • When comparing the sodium content between brands, always use the ‘per 100g’ column, as serving sizes can differ between products and brands
  • When comparing the sodium content of similar foods, products with less than 400mg of sodium per 100g are good, but products with less than 120 mg per 100g are best
  • When reading the ingredients label of a product, foods are listed on the label from the highest amounts to lowest amounts, so checking the first three ingredients for sodium can also be helpful when comparing between products. However while this can give us a good appreciation of the nutritional makeup of the food, this tool is best when used alongside the first two guidelines.
  • Finally, when checking the ingredients list, the name ‘salt’ can come in many forms. Therefore, being aware of the other names of high salt ingredients can be useful, these include; Baking powder, celery salt, garlic salt, meat/yeast extract, monosodium glutamate, (MSG), onion salt, rock salt, sea salt, sodium, sodium ascorbate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium nitrate/nitrite, stock cubes, vegetable salt.

We know that label reading can be tricky and knowing what to look out for when it comes to feeding your kids can feel like an impossible task sometimes! If you want to learn more about how to understand food labels, the Australian Dietary Guidelines have some good information we have linked above for you. 

Also If you liked today’s post or found it useful, or if there are any other topics you would like to hear about from us in the future, please feel free to contact us or comment below. Other kids nutrition-related topics we have already covered are, the truth about feeding your kids fats, your kids and calcium, and sugars – are they all really all the same?

  • The Shelleys Good Eats Team

A bit about the Author

Hi my name is Karly. I am a 3rd year Nutrition student, studying on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I work as an assistant at Shelley’s Good Eats, in-between my studies. As well as having a passion for all things nutrition, I also have a keen interest in sustainability. In the future, I would love to combine both of my passions and educate people in a dynamic and multifaceted way.  

5 ways to entertain your kids if school gets cancelled!

5 ways to entertain your kids if school gets cancelled!

Stuck at home with your kids?

Coronavirus or Covid-19 and the panic that has followed it has left the world in upheaval! BUT what is causing even more panic is the threat that all schools (and basically everything else) will be shut in a country wide lock down…

*Fingers Crossed* that doesn’t happen, but if it does its best to be prepared and no that doesn’t involve panic buying.

With all that extra time looming with your kids (and Easter holidays just around the corner) I thought I would put together a list of activities that can entertain your kids and teach them valuable lessons in the process.

 

Bake a cake

This chocolate cake is super simple and you are bound to have all the ingredients stashed away in your pantry! Sure it is important to stay healthy and eat a nutritious diet to help our immune system where possible. BUT life is also waaayyyy to short to not eat cake. So take this extra time you have with your kids to get messy in the kitchen and bake this super easy cake!

Chocolatecake

 

Sort the veggies into colours and talk about their benefits!

The Colours of vegetables and fruits correlate with different vitamins and minerals that are found in them. For example – yellow and orange veg are high beta carotene the precursor for vitamin A that helps with eye sight – so yes carrots really do help you see better at night! Follow this link to find out what other colours mean!

Get your kids to sort the vegetables in your crisper into colour groups and then talk to them about the benefits they have!

Make your own pizzas

Get the kids to play with and mix this easy 2 ingredient dough. It is just like play-dough. Then they can push it out or roll it out to form different shapes! Finally help them top it with their favourite ingredients.

2 ingredient pizza dough: A slice of pizza

Build an herb garden

This is my little veggie garden that I planted just 4 weeks ago and it only cost $20 (minus a few pots I already had). Get the kids to water them every day and monitor their growth! In two weeks, you will definitely see a lot of little seeds sprouting up! With the food panic going on this can be a valuable talking point to get kids learning about the important of reducing our impact (and just how easy it can be to grow things at home!).

Germ activity

Last but not least this is a very important activity to take your kids through especially in this weird weird time. Watch this link to find out exactly what I mean by ‘germ activity’.

 

Pepper germ activity 

Homemade Fish Fingers

Homemade Fish Fingers

I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t LOVE fish fingers – even those that don’t like fish!

I think it is something to do with the crumb to fish ratio as well as the easy finger food style of meal!

fish fingers

This is a delicious healthy dinner for your whole family paired with chips and a fresh salad! Or Serve them in tacos for delicious healthy fish tacos!

fish fingers Fish Fingers

Other Dinner Recipes you will love:

Homemade Fish Fingers

Fish fingers are a kid favourite and these are no different, only made from home so you know exactly what goes into them!
Course Dinner, lunch
Cuisine Australian
Keyword fish, fish cakes, fish fingers
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets Bassa fish sliced into 1inch x 2 inch fingers.
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ cup Flour
  • 1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 180C. Spread the breadcrumbs over a baking tray and bake in the oven for 5min or until golden. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
  • Form the batter by whisking the eggs and flour together. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
  • Dip the fish into the batter and then into the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all fish pieces are coated. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15mins or until golden and cooked through.
  • Serve with aioli.

Notes

  • Freeze the coated fish fingers before cooking for a quick and easy mid week dinner or snack. Just increase the cook time to 20mins when popping the fish fingers in the oven frozen. 
Your Kids and Calcium 

Your Kids and Calcium 

This week at Shelley’s Good Eats we are talking about all things calcium…and specifically why this little nutrient might deserve your attention when it comes to feeding your kids. We’ll also be discussing the important role calcium plays for your child’s bone health, calcium-rich food sources, how to maximise calcium absorption, and other important factors that contribute to your child’s bone health. 

Most of us know that calcium is super important for promoting healthy bones and teeth, especially for children’s growing bodies. However, it is not the only factor to consider when it comes to your kid’s bone health. In fact, vitamin D and physical activity, are also important factors that contribute to growing healthy bones in kids. Vitamin D is important for helping the calcium to be better absorbed in their intestines, and exercise helps to strengthen and support growing bones. 

Unlike most other vitamins, the main source of vitamin D is from daily sun exposure. In Australia, it is pretty easy to get your daily dose of vitamin D, though the amount of time spent in the sun does fluctuate between seasons and states. For this reason, we have attached a diagram below to give an indicator: 

vitamin D per state

Generally, the most cost-effective and easily absorbable source of calcium is dairy foods, though it is also possible to get your calcium requirements without incorporating diary into your kid’s diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends 1½–2 serves of dairy or alternatives a day for children up to 8 years old, and 2½–3½ serves a day for older children and adolescents. These servings are based on the average nutrient requirements for healthy children in these age groups, however, this amount can fluctuate.

* If you are wanting to gain a better understanding of the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the food groups, we will be writing another blog post in the future to cover this topic!

So what does one serve of dairy look like according to our guidelines?
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 slices of cheese (40 g)
  • ¾ cup (200g) of yoghurt 

* After the age of two, it is recommended to incorporate low-fat dairy options due to their saturated fat content (which we have discussed in our previous blog post, the truth about feeding your kids fats), though it is always good to be mindful of the added sugar contents. 

But what if my child doesn’t eat dairy, can they still get their calcium requirements?

When using alternative milk, yoghurt and cheese products in place of traditional dairy products, it is important to make sure that these contain at least 100mg of calcium per 100ml on their nutritional panel. Non-diary alternatives sources that contain the same amount of calcium as their dairy counterparts, according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines include: 

  • 1 cup calcium-fortified plant milk (soy)
  • 100g (½ cup) of almonds with the skin 
  • 75-80g (⅓ cup) of canned pink or Australian salmon with the bones 

There are also other foods such as seafood (especially mussels, oysters and prawns) and most plant foods (especially seeds, grain-based foods and green leafy vegetables), that contain smaller amounts of calcium. Some packaged foods, like cereals, also contain calcium due to fortification.

While these foods do contain certain amounts of calcium and are great to include in a healthy and balanced diet…you should not rely solely on these foods as a way to get your child’s daily dose of calcium. Instead, it is important to make sure you are incorporating the foods recommended above by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, diary or alternatives, alongside these other foods.  

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, we know that it can be confusing for parents when it comes to knowing the best things to feed your kids. That’s why we have come up with a practical list of different ways to add these all-important calcium-rich foods into your child’s diet, as well as some recipe inspiration (of course!) 

  1. Try making some fun fruit skewers drizzled with traditional yoghurt or a calcium-fortified alternative (check out our yummy fruit skewer recipe for some inspiration
  2. Consider switching your child’s cereal to one fortified with calcium and pairing it with milk or a calcium-fortified alternative for an extra calcium boost 
  3. Try making some salmon patties with tinned pink salmon (bones and all!) for a perfect lunch-box treat (try out our tasty salmon pattie recipe, it’s sure to become a family fav)
  4. Blend up a yummy fruit smoothie with some milk and yoghurt (or alternatives) for a tasty breakfast with a twist (check out our awesome kid’s breakfast smoothie recipe)
  5. Go traditional for your kid’s snacks by adding some cheese (or alternatives) to some whole-grain crackers (the perfect creamy and crunch combo)
  6. Try adding some grated cheese (or alternatives) and dark leafy greens to your kid’s breakfast omelette for some added flavour and colour-pop

Making sure your kid’s get their calcium requirements doesn’t need to be stressful…we hope that this blog post has not only given you an appreciation of the importance of calcium when it comes to kid’s growing bodies…but that it has also armed you with some practical ways to easily incorporate calcium-rich foods into your kid’s diet. If you have any questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. 

-The Shelley’s Good Eats team

A bit about the Author

Hi my name is Karly. I am a 3rd year Nutrition student, studying on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I work as an assistant at Shelley’s Good Eats, in-between my studies. As well as having a passion for all things nutrition, I also have a keen interest in sustainability. In the future, I would love to combine both of my passions and educate people in a dynamic and multifaceted way.  

Banana Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

Banana Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

Smoothies are great because they can be prepared in minutes – speedy is always good in the mornings. What isn’t great is when they don’t keep you full for long. But there are a few things we can do to combat that and this banana strawberry breakfast smoothie has it all!Breaky Smoothie

It is loaded with fresh fruit and oats for fibre and a healthy dose of carbohydrates and packed with protein from the greek yoghurt and milk!

Breaky Smoothie

Other smoothie Recipes you will love:

Strawberry Banana Breaky Smoothie

A Delicious nourishing breakfast smoothie with everything your kids need to fuel their day!
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Australian
Keyword banana, Green Smoothie, Smoothie, strawberries
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 banana frozen
  • 1/3 cup rolled Oats
  • 6 Strawberries
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/4 cup greek Yoghurt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 2mins or until smooth.