Fat and salt

Fat

"Care should be taken to limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake. Low fat diets are not suitable for infants (up to 2 years of age)."

Source: Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

In other words, don't add too much fat to foods, or have a lot of foods that are very fatty. Some fat is necessary for health, but eating a lot of fatty foods fairly regularly is not healthy.

Saturated fats are the least healthy of the fats and this is the type that we should eat least. Saturated fats are found in cream, milk, butter, and cheese, the fat in meat (red meat, pork, poultry), palm oil and coconut oil.

Monounsaturated fat (found in olive, canola and peanut oils) and polyunsaturated fats (sunflower, safflower and corn oils, and in fatty fish) are more healthy types of fat.

Trans fatty acids are unhealthy fats and should be limited in the diet. They are created by processing or superheating vegetable fats and oils (hydrogenation). Trans fats can be found in processed foods (e.g. cakes and biscuits) and deep fried foods.

The best way to give older children a healthy amount of fat is to follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use just a thin scrape of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated margarine.
  • Trim the fat off meat.
  • Limit use of foods such as sausages and fatty luncheon meats.
  • Limit fried foods such as French fries, fried fish and fried chicken to very occasional use. Use polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oil when cooking.
  • Offer healthy foods as snacks instead of potato crisps, biscuits and pastries - these high fat foods are best treated as foods to be eaten only "sometimes".

Salt

"Choose foods low in salt"

Source: Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

Choosing low salt foods is a good eating habit for children to develop to prevent health problems later in life.

Eating foods low in salt helps to prevent high blood pressure in adults. Saltiness is a taste that we become accustomed to. We can also get used to the taste of less salt.

Read labels. Some packaged foods have high salt levels.

A low salt food has sodium up to 120 milligrams per 100 grams (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

Lunch box ideas

  • Offer bread, muffins, fruit and vegetables as snacks instead of potato crisps and biscuits.
  • See our lunch box snack suggestions.
  • Cut fat off meats.
  • Use just a scrape of margarine or reduced fat mayonnaise on bread.
  • Try a little low fat yoghurt to moisten egg (instead of butter, margarine, cream or mayonnaise.
  • Don't add salt to sandwiches or rolls.
  • Sauces and spreads add flavour. Look for reduced-salt versions of your favourite sauce.
  • Try herbs such as chives, mint, basil, or parsley instead of salt.

For more information

For more information about SALT

For more information about FAT