Or at the very least trying to start them off with high blood pressure before they are old enough to go to the prom?

Let me back up, I was at Target recently and was thinking back fondly on eating Chef Boyardee Mini Raviolis as a child. For a moment, I thought, maybe I would let my kids try it to so they could experience this canned goodness I remembered. Nerdy label reader that I am, I did feel it necessary to check out the nutrition first and was kind of horrified at what I saw, hopefully this image is clear:

1 serving has a whopping 900mg sodium!

900 mg of sodium per serving, a whole can is 2 servings. It’s pretty clear that Chef Boyardee’s audience is children, and while there are no RDAs for sodium set at this point for children, there are what’s known as “Adequate Intakes” and “Upper Limits” set for this electrolyte.

Using children ages 4-8 years old as an example, the adequate intake of sodium for this group is 1200 mg/day. The upper limit is 1900 mg/day. If you are wondering what an upper limit is, it’s

The maximum level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse effects.- NIH

I guess I find it disturbing because if your child ate just one serving, not only is this a huge sodium load for an adult, let alone a child, it’s 3/4 of their daily allowance.

Too much salt can have adverse effects on one’s blood pressure, kidneys and bones. Not to mention, why start our children out with a taste for excessive salt in foods?

My recommendation is to provide whole and fresh foods as often as possible, and read the labels on all processed foods. If your child has 3 meals and 2 snacks daily, each meal should have no more than 250-350 mg/serving. (For the 4-8 year old age group).

For more information check out the Linus Pauling Institute’s site here on Micronutrient Requirements of Children Ages 4 to 13 Years