Low-salt meals for children prevents unhealthy, hypertensive adults.

Many people think of adults when it comes to hypertension and the global medical appeal for salt reduction. However, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that American children are especially at risk for high blood pressure, because of too much sodium in their diets.

The study researchers found that about eight out of every 10 children ages 1 to 3 are at risk for hypertension, and the risk goes up with age: Nine out of every 10 Americans ages 4 and older are at risk. About 8 percent of the salt children eat comes from school meals. Kansas State University dietitians say new school meal guidelines are aimed at reducing the amount of salt children eat.

The importance is that children’s early eating patterns can and should shape their future eating and influence them positively for a lifetime.

Here is a recipe for veggie pita pockets that can be enjoyed by the whole family and also packed into a school lunchbox. It can even be made entirely in the microwave. Use tortillas to convert them into burritos.

Chickpea Spinach Pockets

Ingredients

    • 3 pita breads, sliced in half
    • 1.5 cups canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
    • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
    • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped
    • 3/4 cup grated cheese (any kind. we used gruyere)
    • ¼ tsp. cayenne powder
    • ¼ tsp. cumin powder
    • ¼ tsp. coriander powder
    • ½ tsp. chaat masala (or lemon pepper)
    • 2 tsps. lime juice
    • Salt to taste

Method

    • Put wet spinach leaves in bowl, cover, and microwave on high (about three minutes). Let the leaves cool, squeeze the water out, and then chop up the spinach.
    • Combine garbanzo beans, spinach, spices, salt, and cheese. Microwave on high for one minute until the cheese starts to melt.
    • Add the tomato, limejuice, and coriander leaves. Mix gently.
    • Spoon into pita pockets and top with ketchup, salsa or dip of your choice.

Remember, we can help our children against future health problems by getting them used to eating healthily from the start. Don’t miss the buss!

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