It's very important to check labels to find out which foods are high in salt and be able to choose the healthier option.
How can I tell if a food is high in salt?
Here is a quick way to tell if a food is high in salt by looking at the nutritional information on the label.
Look at the figure for salt per 100g.
High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
If the amount of salt per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of salt.
Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much salt you will get from it.
Try to avoid eating foods that are high in salt. If you eat lots of these foods, it can be very easy to have a lot of salt. This is why it's important to choose foods that are lower in salt, when you can.
It's also a good idea to choose foods that say 'no added salt', if possible.
Traffic light labels
Foods produced by some supermarkets and manufacturers have 'traffic light' colours on the front of the pack. These show you, at a glance, if a food is high (red), medium (amber) or low (green) in each of these: salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat. This can help you choose healthier options.
High (red) = eat small amounts, or just occasionally
Medium (amber) = OK most of the time
Low = a healthier choice
Many of the foods with traffic light colours on the label will have a mixture of red, amber and green. So, when you're choosing between similar products, try to go for more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, if you want to make the healthier choice.
How do I work out how much salt is in a portion of food?
Look at the nutritional information on the label. If the label gives a figure for salt per 100g, all you have to do is work out how much salt is in the amount you will eat. So if you're eating 500g, you would multiply the figure for 100g by 5.
If you only have a figure for sodium, work out how much sodium is in the amount you will eat. And then multiply this by 2.5 to find the amount of salt. See the Sodium and salt page to find out more.
The label might also tell you how much salt (or sodium) is in the whole pack or in part of the pack. Remember that the serving size listed on the label may not be the same as the amount you will eat.