CASH · Healthy Eating · Parenting · Salt

What can the out of home sector do to reduce salt in children’s meals?

With the recent report from Action on Salt highlighting the amount of salt in children’s meals action is required from the out of home sector. Here are some top tips to help the sector reduce salt.

1) Identify which of your meals have added salt and look at alternative ways to add flavour – herbs, spices, onion, garlic

2) Avoid salting vegetables, rice and pasta. Mix the sauce into the pasta, the true Italian way, and the pasta will have fuller flavour. 

3) Check your chefs are following the recipe and not adding more salt than the recipe states. Make sure your chefs are well hydrated too because they will probably add more salt if they aren’t.

4) Ask, do you need to add bread to a meal which already is starchy. Bread is not bad but it needs salt in production so it could be increasing the salt content of your meals unnecessarily.

5) Reduce the amount of processed meat on your menu. Processed meat has been shown to increase risk of some cancers so if we care about future consumers we need to think about their health. Processed meat is high in salt so switching to other meats will reduce the salt content. The cost of meat can be an issue but cheaper cuts like chicken thighs or stewing beef could be tried or ask for expert advice on alternatives.

6) Increase the vegetarian options. Vegetarians have often only been given one option but Quorn, tofu, beans and lentils are a great alternative to meat and often lower in salt. Children often have these on their school menus so they are familiar to them; it is all about what you do with these ingredients and how you market them.

7) Consider your portion sizes. If the portions of fruit and veg are large enough then the portions of high salt foods can be smaller without customers feeling short changed. Plus you can market it as having a portion of your 5 a day.

8) Employ someone to help you with your menu. You can do lots yourself but sometimes it is worth getting some help. A Registered Nutritionist can help you. I may be able to help so drop me a line if you want advice. Otherwise go to Sense Nutrition for a list of suitably qualified professionals.   

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