This popular pasta dinner is worse for kids than a Happy Meal warns experts
Does pasta with pesto feature relatively regular on your dinner table, mamas?
We don't blame you – it is easy to throw together, tastes delicious and, more importantly, is usually one of those dishes that kids will just eat without too many complaints when it's put in front of them.
However; now a health action group has warned that feeding children pesto pasta could be worse for their health than letting them eat McDonald's hamburgers.
The report, conducted by campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health, warned: "A popular choice among parents, pesto is often given to young children – making it an even bigger contributor towards their salt intakes as the maximum daily recommended intake is much lower for children. In the long term, this could increase a child’s risk of developing high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks later in life."
And even more worrying, perhaps, was that the two saltiest pots of pesto in their test actually came from one of the bestselling pesto brands, Sacla.
According to The Telegraph, the amount of salt in pesto is rising with the average serving now containing 1.5g of salt, recent research has found, actually overtaking McDonalds hamburgers which contain 1.2g, and this is equivalent to half of a 4 to 6 year-old child's 3g daily salt allowance according to the NHS.
Nutritionist Sarah Alderton with Consensus Action on Salt and Health explains: "Pesto is an everyday product eaten by adults and children alike, but people might not realise just how salty it can be. None of the products we surveyed could be described as 'healthy', so consider having pesto in smaller portions, less frequently, or try other pasta sauces lower in salt and fat instead."
The fresh report comes on the back of some manufacturers failing to meet the 2017 salt reduction targets.