A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that many packaged meals and snacks for toddlers contain worrisome amounts of salt and sugar. This is a major concern because it could potentially give children an early preference for foods that may contribute to obesity and high blood pressure.
Researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed package information and labels for more than 1,000 foods marketed for infants and toddlers in 2012. They did not mention any brands, but toddler dinners like toddler dinners including packaged mini hot dogs , macaroni and cheese, rice cakes, dried fruit snacks, crackers and yogurt treats were tested.
It was found that about seven in 10 toddler dinners contained exess amount of salt. According to the Institute of Medicine recommendations, foods for toddlers should contain no more than about 210 milligrams of salt or sodium per serving, but the average for toddler meals studied was 361 milligrams which is almost 1.5 times higher than the usual limit.
There was excess sugar in most cereal bars, breakfast pastries and snacks for infants and toddlers. On an average, dry fruit-based snacks contained 60 grams of sugar and 66 percent of calories from total sugars. The most generally used added sugars were cane (20 percent), fruit juice concentrate (56 percent), sugar (33 percent), syrup (15 percent), and malt (7 percent).