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Salt and meals out with 1 year old - how paranoid am I being?

(23 Posts)
TriwizardCupcake Sun 09-Sep-07 17:02:18

OK, I could really do with some perspective here, because I wonder how paranoid I am being.

I've been tying myself up in knots worrying about giving my 13 month old dd too much salt in her food. I never put any added salt or stock into food anyway, but I find that I also add up every single point whatever of a gram in every ingredient I put into anything I make her (for example natural salts that occur in cans of tomatos). I never give her olives. I only give her the low salt yeast extract very sparingly and never give her more than 1oz of very mild cheese a day. I worry about all the things that naturally contain salt (how much natural salt is there in my breast milk?) and if that's pushing her over the 2g per day quota.

Yes, I'm a first time mum (can you guess?) This has carried over from reading all the "never under any circumstances give your baby salt because their kidneys can't cope with it" stuff when she was a baby. I went onto the government salt website to try and find out when it was safe to let her have salt, and was presented with this 2g until 3 years old figure, which I've been terrified of going over since.

Anyway, it's my DH's birthday next week. We plan to go out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate. I am worried about letting dd have restaurant food because I've got so control freaky about it all. I'm sure that even a small portion will contain more than her daily quota.

Please could some of you give me an idea about whether this worries other mums of my daughter's age or if it is just me? It's really starting to affect my life and I don't want my daughter to learn to be paranoid about food. Would going out to a restaurant and giving your 13 month old restaurant food worry you? Is this something that everyone even thinks about when making food for their child? Feel like I'm losing my grip on what is normal!

Sorry if this sounds silly.

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 09-Sep-07 17:04:40

Well I think you know the answer to this!

You're not being silly, but I think you should start to relax a bit. You're doing all the right things when you're cooking, and when you're out of home it's totally out of your hands. Enjoy those meals safe in the knowledge that it's not every meal.

It would be a shame to let this obsession spoil your DH's birthday!

LazyLinePainterJane Sun 09-Sep-07 17:07:01

I think that this is one of the many situations where it's safe to say that if you are the sort of person that worries about it, you don't need to worry about it, IYSWIM.

You are aware of the need to limit the salt, this means that you are taking care of the issue and do not need to worry that you are doing wrong.


As long as you don't eat out every day, she will be fine.

TheArmadillo Sun 09-Sep-07 17:07:26

YOu have got a bit obsessed with salt.

Yes young children should avoid high levels of salt- this means not adding salt to their food and making sure the salt content of prepared food is not too high for them.

But when they talk about the damage done by salt they are talking about children who get these high levels of salt on a regular basis, over a long period of time - not as a one off. A one off won't hurt.

You sound worried about how obsessed you are with this - is there anything else that is worrying you?

scienceteacher Sun 09-Sep-07 17:10:45

I can admit to licking the salt off MacDonalds fries before giving them to DS1.

In practice, I think you just have to be sensible. Avoid foods that are very salty (eg olives, bacon, gravy), but don't worry too much about cooking water or a pinch here and there. You can always have your LO drink plenty of water to dilute any excess salt.

You have to remember that daily quotas are not the same as daily maximums. They are averages over a long period of time. A one-off is not going to lead to kidney damage.

We probably have a cultural aversion to salt for infants. When we lived in the US, it didn't seem to be something that anyone worried about at all - I was horrified.

RubySlippers Sun 09-Sep-07 17:11:38

my view is this:
the odd meal out in a restaurant will make no difference if she has a generally healthy diet - and it certainly sounds like she does

I am not as careful as you, although we all generally eat low salt, home cooked food with the odd take out - DS eats the same as us at all times (except less wine wink)

relax and enjoy your meal out - really!

TriwizardCupcake Sun 09-Sep-07 17:22:17

No, nothing else worrying me Armadillo, though really lovely of you to ask. It is true that I am naturally quite a neurotic person - just I've channelled most of my neurosis into this I guess.

I think that I've just been letting this salt thing build up in my head for quite a while, and whilst at home I have a relatively good idea of what she is eating, when we are out, I don't, so up until now I've always brought along prepared food when we've gone out - but she's now a 13 month old and walking so I really can't keep doing this and I know this meal out is one where I need to let go a bit.

I would love to let her try more foods - take aways for example - but I know they are loaded with salt so I never give her these.

scienceteacher - I didn't know about daily minimums - who decides those, and how are they different from daily quotas?

margosbeenplayingwithmynoonoo Sun 09-Sep-07 17:22:33

I can understand how you feel. I won't let my children eat the same food as us at my mums as my parents add gallons of salt to every vegetable cooked.

I share "Because I'm worth it"s view - don't let it spoil your DHs birthday.

EscapeFrom Sun 09-Sep-07 17:29:41

Guideline quotas are wyhat you aim for EVERY DAY

But the occasional maximum will be a LOT higher than that. as long as you don't dish up bacon and crisps every day for lunch, and chinese takeaway every day for tea, you are doing fine! The occasional chinese takeaway will do no harm

TriwizardCupcake Sun 09-Sep-07 21:49:10

Thanks for the reassurance on this. Hopefully I'll be able to do this meal out without stressing too much

Eulalia Mon 10-Sep-07 13:09:02

I am sure most restaurants wouldn't object if you took your own food in. I have always done this with my kids. It's my dh's birthday on Thur and we are giong out for a meal and as its a fancy fish restaurant I'll probably just bring something along for my 2 year old. You could always let your dd have tastes off your fork so she feels included.

ELR Mon 10-Sep-07 15:25:48

if i was you i would take some food snacks with you just incase you feel a panic coming on but try to let dd have some food.
think of italian/greek/french kids they eat with families all the time and some of their food is quite salty but these kids are fine.
My kids eat olives, feta, homemade pesto and marmite almost daily and they are fine

Twiglett Mon 10-Sep-07 15:28:02

you asked and I have to say it sounds totally silly

stop worrying

enjoy your meal out

MerryMarigold Mon 10-Sep-07 21:15:21

i don't think you should worry too much about these things. i am convinced kids pick up stress and control-freakiness and it affects them far more (exp. over a whole life) than a bit of salt, sugar, or - god forbid - aspartame! being generally relaxed with your dd will help her far more in life...

1dilemma Mon 10-Sep-07 21:39:32

I think you are worrying a lot and you are doing very well with reducing salt however don't forget children need calcium etc etc so everything is a play off. Also by all accounts children will specifically seek out the things they were denied by their parents once they gain some independence!!
Have you thought about phoning the restaurant and asking them if they will make salt free food for you? It's a rare chef that wont!

1dilemma Tue 11-Sep-07 23:54:46

Breast milk is fine BTW

1dilemma Wed 12-Sep-07 00:01:57

There is more awareness about things like salt and how harmful it can be in the long term!
Eating a high salt meal will make your blood pressure higher than usual later on.
Children with higher salt diets have higher blood pressure.
Dare I say netmums had something about this a little while ago? They were working in partnership with someone I'll see if I can find out who for you (food standards agency, also salt.gov.uk was linked and something calles CASH havn't looked at all of these don't kow if they are any use sorry) Google netmums and salt and see what comes up.
Also learn how to read the labels and the tricks companies use (unrealistic portion sizes confusing sodium and salt etc) and watch breakfast cereals and bread.
HTH.
I still say phone the chef do everyones blood pressure some good!!

KeirHardAitch Wed 12-Sep-07 00:52:51

god, don't phone the chef, just ask when they bring you a side of veggies/chips etc that they don't salt them. you're doiing great, making lovely home-cooked meals, some restaurant food will be a sociable treat, don't spoil your evening with worrying. smile

1dilemma Wed 12-Sep-07 00:56:13

Why not phone (OK the restaurant not the chef at home grin) lots of people phone restaurants all the time to talk about the food!
A good chef will want you to taste the food not the salt anyway!

KeirHardAitch Wed 12-Sep-07 00:58:06

oh i don't know, it seems like an awful fuss for no reason. like you say, it'd be most unreasonable of them not to agree to leave salt off veggies etc. but sometimes sauces are prepped early in the day, so that would be more hassle.

slim22 Wed 12-Sep-07 00:58:56

chill!
While most of us perfectly understand where you are coming from, I think we can all agree that you are clearly OVERREACTING here.
Let this be an enjoyable day/night out. If you get all panicky why not pack separate homemade food for her????

1dilemma Thu 13-Sep-07 01:39:26

oh OK I do agree that you are perhaps a little too controlling about it and would agre also that you should not like a little bit of salt prevent you from enjoying your meal. She will be fine and it soulds like your diet is pretty low salt.
To answer your other questions yes I am conscious of it and do adjust the dcs diet in favour of low salt (but not to the extent I bake my own bread!) It would not worry me to go out to restaurant and give them that food, indeed I think it is ideal for lo to try adult meals/food much better for them than many kiddie meals.
As a complete aside if the food is too salty for her and she doesn't like it she will probably eat less!

1dilemma Thu 13-Sep-07 01:39:53

sorry for my awful spelling!

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