A lot of our food comes ready salted, as most of the salt we eat each day is already added to packaged and prepared foods. We are encouraging food companies to reduce the salt content in their products so that we can all eat less, helping protect us from a variety of devastating health conditions in later life, including stroke and heart disease. 

Eating too much salt may sound like a concern for adults alone, but it's never too early to start to start thinking about your salt intake. Did you know your dietary habits and preferences track from childhood to adulthood?

Similar to adults, children are consuming more salt than the maximum recommendation. Babies should not have any added salt in their diet as their kidneys are still developing and therefore would not be able to cope with the excess. Breast milk (and breast milk substitutes) contains all the right nutrients to meet a baby’s requirements including salt.

Once weaning starts, the food you give to your child may seem bland to adults, but do not forget these foods are packed with different textures and flavours which are a whole new experience for your child! You might be surprised but salt is hidden in a wide range of everyday foods which may not necessarily taste salty for example bread or cheese. When excess salt is added to your child’s food, their taste buds gradually get used to this higher level of salt, and this slowly becomes a learned preference.

Eating less salt is important for the whole family, so try not to place salty sauces or saltshakers on the dining table.

These are the current guidelines:


Maximum Salt Intake

0-6 months

<1g / day

6-12 months

1g / day

1-3 years

2g / day

4-6 years

3g / day

7-10 years

5g / day

11 years and above

6g / day


To give your children that jump start on a healthy lifestyle, here are some simple tips:

  • Traffic light labelling is a good guide to quickly check if something is high (red) for salt -children specific food products don’t have traffic light labels, but you can always check the back of the packet and aim for <0.3g salt/100g which is considered low in salt
  • Try to use salty ingredients sparingly in toddler food, such as sausages, cheese and cooking sauces  
  • Why not swap cheese and ham sandwiches to a lower salt sandwich filling? Try chicken or egg mayonnaise with fresh salad
  • Replace sausages or processed  meat/fish with a lower salt alternative such as freshly cooked lean meat or a homecooked burger
  • Give children snacks such as yogurt, carrot and pepper sticks, fruit, and rice cakes instead of salted varieties and crisps
  • You can still ensure your food packs a flavoursome punch! Try replacing salt with herbs, garlic and citrus
  • Try swapping to low salt/no added salt varieties, such as baked beans, canned sweetcorn and stock cubes
  • Try to limit sauces high in salt, such as, tomato ketchup or soy sauce 

So, will you be joining us in shaking off the salt habit?