Sodium is a really useful little nutrient. It’s most commonly found in Salt which we find in just about everything we eat.
According to MyFoodDiary.com in 2013: “Sodium is needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, maintaining pH balance, and hydration. Sodium regulates the fluid outside of the cells and is needed to pump fluid into the cells as potassium carries by-products out.”
These are all REALLY important. Sodium is half of the chemistry that helps the electricity in your body function, (the other half is Potassium) and having adequate amounts of both in your system is SUPER important.
So how much of this awesome substance should we be eating? Well for ages 1-3, adequate consumption should be at 1,000 milligrams daily. A 4-8 year old should aim for about 1,200 milligrams. And anyone from the ages of 9-18 should shoot for about 1,500. So how do these numbers compare to the sodium levels in our Lunchables?
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Ham and Swiss Meal: 690mg of Sodium.
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Ham and Cheddar Meal: 670mg of Sodium.
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Turkey and Cheddar Meal: 620 mg of Sodium.
In a Pizza (with juice drink) Pepperoni Meal: 760 mg
In a Pizza (with juice drink) Extra Cheesy Meal: 620 mg
In a Chicken Dunk (with juice drink) Meal: 550 mg.
There are not small numbers compared to the total if we’re looking at 1000-1500 mg.
But why does it matter? What happens if you eat too much sodium? How does it hurt us? It makes you thirsty, it puts you at risk for high blood pressure, it sometimes may cause fluid retention, which in turn is the risk for heart attacks and strokes to go up as well. These are really huge problems, and we have to make sure that we keep our sodium levels in the healthy zone. This has been your jump into the salt shaker.