Information

Healthy Eating in Schools guidance 2020: supplementary information and advice on energy and key nutrients

This is supplementary guidance to the guidance book on Healthy Eating in Schools focusing upon providing information about the energy and key nutrients which form the basis for provision of school food and drink.


Salt

Why do we need to eat less salt?

Although we all need a little salt in our diet to help our body function, most of us eat too much.

Too much salt can damage our health. It can increase our blood pressure which increases our chances of developing heart disease or stroke.

Children under the age of eleven need less salt than adults.

Children and young people should not have too much salt as this could affect their health in the future.

Too much salt will give children a taste for salty food, and they will be more likely to continue eating too much salt when they grow up.

Sources

About 61%[1] of the salt in the UK diet is found in processed foods.

Bread, for example, which is a staple food that children should be encouraged to eat, contributes significantly to salt intakes. So we should check the nutrition labels of different varieties and choose those with the lowest salt content.

Some types of food/recipes that can be high in salt include:

  • baked beans
  • breakfast cereals
  • cooking and pasta sauces
  • crisps
  • pizza
  • ready meals
  • soup
  • sandwiches
  • sausages
  • tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces

Other foods high in salt include:

  • bacon
  • cheese
  • salted and dry roasted nuts
  • smoked meat and fish
  • anchovies
  • gravy granules
  • stock cubes
  • soy sauce
  • pickles
  • prawns

Additional information

Salt is also known as sodium chloride. It is the sodium in salt that can be bad for your health.

Both terms can appear on nutritional information on food labels.

To convert grams of salt into grams of sodium you need to divide the salt figure by 2.5. To then covert the grams of sodium into milligrams you need to then multiply by 1000.

Public Health England has set UK wide voluntary salt reduction targets to encourage the food industry to reduce the amount of salt in a wide range of products by 2024.

Contact

Email: lyndsey.fogg@gov.scot

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