Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Additive of the Week - Salt

Added salt is found in a huge number of foods served for lunch at our school including:


Anything with Tomato/Marinara/Spaghetti Sauce,
Anything with Mozzarella Cheese,
(The previous two ingredients are in meatball heros, italian dunkers, mozzarella sticks, pizza, pasta dishes, etc.),
Chicken Nuggets,
Club Rolls (with things like Meatball Heros),
Black Beans,
Hot dogs,
Veggie Burgers,
Beef Meatballs (Heros),
Slider Buns

Alternate Entrees:

Peanut Butter,
Cream Cheese,


Green Beans,
Chick peas,
Whole Wheat bread

I considered listing the foods that do not have added salt instead. The list would be much shorter.

On average, the lunches we serve have a combined 1197 mg of sodium in each according to our last audit. Yes, that's too much for a single meal for a child but it does happen to meet the USDA standards.

The national Institute of Medicine prepared important recommendations for the school lunch program recommending not more than 636mg of sodium in a lunch for elementary school children. You can read their report School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Salt, at the levels present in the diets of most people around the world, is probably the single most harmful substance in the food supply. Salt is used liberally in many processed foods and restaurant meals, with some meals containing far more than a day's worth of sodium. . . .

A diet high in sodium increases blood pressure in most people, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. In 2004, the director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and two colleagues estimated that cutting the amount of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by half would save 150,000 lives a year. Everyone should avoid salty processed foods and restaurant meals, use salt sparingly in cooking and at the table, and enjoy other seasonings.

This article from the NY Times illustrates the marketing hoops manufacturers are jumping through to maintain high levels of salt in processed foods - and to suggest you add salt to more things - even coffee. Read it here.

If you have a subscription to the WSJ, you can read this alarming article about the rising rates of high blood pressure in children. One of the the top recommendations is of course to eat less salt -- sort of the opposite of funneling large amounts of it to children through the school lunch program.

Finally, the Institute of Medicine has a new report on how the nation could reduce its salt intake.

Regardless of the requirement of the new Child Nutrition Act (if it gets voted on), we need to include limits on salt on our school's nutrition standards.


1 comment:

  1. Keep it up Sara!

    I'm right there with you every day reading your edifying posts and feeling so lucky to have you in Sea Cliff.

    Let's get these kids some simple life affirming foods! It's time we changed the USDA standards to reflect what we know to be true.

    So many children consume 40% of their daily calories this way.