Getting children to eat less sugar, salt, and fat is a battle worth waging. Treats, by definition, should be something that kids get every once and a while — a sweet, decadent break from a diet filled with fruits and vegetables. If you’ve laughed at this sentence, you’re not alone. Just look at the American Heart Association recommendation versus the realities of what kids eat:
AHA Sugar Recommendation: Kids under age 2 shouldn’t eat any added sugar. Children 2 to 18 should limit added sugar to 25 grams per day.
AHA Salt Recommendation: The American Heart Association recommends that both children and adults eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
The Salty Truth: Children ages 2-19 seat an average of more than 3,100 mg of sodium per day. That’s more than double the recommended amount.
AHA Fat Recommendation: Fat should account for 30 to 35 percent of daily calories for kids aged 2-3, and 25 to 35 percent for kids aged 4-18. What you really want to watch out for are saturated fats and trans fats. Any amount of trans fat is harmful.
The Fatty Facts: It’s unclear how much fat the average child eats on a daily basis. However, if your child is eating fried foods or baked goods on a regular basis, they’re probably getting too much trans fat.