No parent will intentionally buy unhealthy food for their kids but sometimes so called “healthy food” may find its way into the kitchen. The level of obesity in young children has been steadily rising over the years, with greater risk to their health. Even if there if we pay attention to the kinds of food our kids consume, there is no stopping the infiltration of unhealthy food into our increasingly affluent societies.
This has much to do with the advertising by food companies hoping to promote their brands. Their commercials may be just to promote their brands rather than encouraging kids to eat more, however, when kids are exposed to commercials for food on a daily basis, they are bound to lookout for those brands. Most of these brands contain extra sugar, fat and salt which are all detrimental to healthy eating.
Unhealthy foods in disguise
When we take the case of kids yoghurt it may seem harmless enough but in commercial brands, they are full of sugar in the form of protein, magnesium and vitamins. These fun kids yoghurt’s are no better than eating a calorie-laden rich dessert. They contain a lot of artificial colours and flavourings along with high fructose corn syrup. Although the main base for yoghurt is still milk, it tends to get saturated with all these other ingredients. A better option for wholesome yoghurt for kids would be to freeze some real yoghurt for their snacks. This will be far healthier without the artificial additives which are all fattening.
Another example of unhealthy food is children’s breakfast cereals, most flavourants added to the cereal, such as maple syrup, has more than 12 grams per serving of sugar. This is not healthy despite the carefully packaged deal. Rather, prepare whole oats in water or low fat milk and add some raisins, as an alternative healthy, sweet breakfast treat for kids.
Fruit juice is another carefully disguised product, the package may feature appealing fresh fruit and natural ingredients. However, many of these so called natural juices have artificial sweeteners added. You can do better by providing an apple or orange rather than these additive juices. If you must serve juice to the kids, then limit their intake to 1 or 2 servings in a day, dilute the juice with water and rather buy natural fruit juice without concentrates.
Kids meals which are harmful
When it comes to kids’ food in the restaurants, they always insist that there are less calories and fats as compared to adult menus. However, fast foods like fried chicken, chicken nuggets, cheese-laden pizza and hot dogs are all high in fats and calories with little nutritional value.
The same goes for fish sticks or “fingers” which are advertised as the best fish option for your kids but are loaded with artificial ingredients and laden with fat. It would be a better option to bake or grill fresh fish for yourselves and the kids.
Peanut butter which is supposed to be a good source of calories and protein is not always as it seems. Many of the brands contain hydrogenated fat and are very high in sugar. As for peanut butter with jam, it is high in fructose corn syrup, dextrose and other additives which are unhealthy. In this case, you can settle for the brands with plain, organic peanut butter (such as the one in Woolworths).
Parents need to check the labels of food items carefully and do some research on them before adding them to the shopping trolley. There are many food products which can end up doing damage to your kid’s health in the long run.
What do you think? Were you surprised by some of the food items mentioned as unhealthy in this article? It can be so difficult to feed children, esp fussy eaters, what foods do you find yourself feeding your kids which you know are unhealthy? Do you have any suggestions or comments – leave them at the end of this post. I would love to hear from you…
About the author: Diana Maria is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on skin allergy attracted her attention. These days she is busy writing an article on Strawberry Tree.