It was tough to come up with only seven foods to never feed your kids. There are a lot of unhealthy foods out there. Many will set your child up for a lifetime of bad health and obesity.
Kids foods are aggressively marketed during children’s TV programs and brightly packaged with friendly cartoons. It can be hard to fight with your kid at the grocery store.
However, kids’ foods are so bad for kids that you absolutely must refuse to buy them. Start them out right and hopefully they will have a healthier life.
We’ve boiled it down to the seven absolute worst kids’ foods out there. You’ll find some surprising! And numbers five and seven are pretty depressing.
7. Sweetened Drinks Like Fruit Juice
Kids love sugar. Sugar is really bad for kids. Sports drinks, fruit juice, sodas… all those yummy drinks with bright colored labels and targeted advertising should never be consumed by children.
Even 100% fruit juice is not healthy. Fruit contains a lot of sugar as well as fiber and nutrients. When it is juiced, you lose the fiber and many of the other nutrients. What you keep is the sugar.
Sugar causes dental decay, adds the pounds, and is linked to behavioral issues.
6. Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast cereal and pastries offer up some terrifically bad nutrition. Start with the white refined flour. The body treats white flour just like sugar. If you don’t burn it off through exercise, your body turns it into belly fat. You get no fiber or nutrients from white flour.
The colors are all artificial and linked to behavioral issues.
Top with sugar (or honey) and you have…. breakfast cake that goes straight to the belly and the brain and not positively.
5. Processed Meat
Hot dogs are part of childhood and they shouldn’t be. Processed meats are chockfull of preservatives, unhealthy fat, and tons of salt. Nitrates are linked to cancer (even the organic kind).
Feeding processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni, ham, deli meat, etc) to kids sets them up for a life time of heart problems and weight issues. Plus, you generally eat these on white bread, not whole grain bread, and all that sugar gets stuck on your child’s belly.
4. Flash Fried Finger Food
Flash fried finger food is also known as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and mozzarella sticks. These are just nasty on several levels. For instance, chicken nuggets contain more than 20 ingredients (including low quality chicken), many not found in nature.
One ingredient is refined flour (breading). They are then fried in trans fats like hydrogenated vegetable oils. They are then served with preservative- and sugar-rich dipping sauces.
Mmm-mmm. A meal fit for a sickly, over-weight kid full of preservatives linked to cancer.
3. Boxed Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Who knew boxed mac and cheese, that childhood favorite, is bad for you. Sorry. Guess what the noodle are made with? White flour aka belly fat. And the cheese? Sodium, preservatives, non-food additives and practically no nutrition.
One of the most dangerous chemicals in boxed mac and cheese are phthalates. These were banned a decade ago from baby toys. They’ve been linked to learning and behavioral problems. The manufacturer isn’t deliberately adding them to the food, but they come from the manufacturing process.
2. Packaged lunches
Know packaged lunches? Deli meat, cheese, crackers, dessert and fruit juice? Really bad. Start with crackers. White flour made shelf stable with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – the bad fats. Add deli meat. Call it preserved fat. Next cheese. If it’s real cheese, it may be the healthiest thing in the box. But it’s full of saturated fat. If it’s cheese food, oil and chemicals.
Artificially flavored sugar juice and preserved fat and sugar masquerading as dessert. It’s the lunch of champions.
1. Kids’ Meals
Hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, and a sugary drink. Something your picky toddler will eat. If it’s fast food, more of it comes from the test tube instead of the farm. White flour bread, processed potatoes shaped into fries, and cheese “food” colored with fake colors and flavored with preservatives and salt.
Restaurant kids’ meals are only slightly less suspect. Kids’ meals can contain more calories, fat and salt than the average adult is supposed to eat, let alone a child.
Pretty depressing and frustrating, right? Manufacturers are programming your kids to like salty, sugary, highly processed foods. It will make it easier to sell low quality food to them as adults. Lots of kids foods are why our kids are overweight and younger and younger children are getting Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart problems.
Instead, opt for whole grain breads, lean meats, serve raw and steamed veggies, avoid sugar (and artificially sweetened) drinks, and make eating healthily part of their expectations. You will have a healthier happy kid with fewer behavioral issues. And as a benefit, you’ll feel a lot better by eating right!