Do your kids eat pre-packaged, processed foods? If so, they may not be getting the nutrition they need to support their growth and development.
Babble posted a fantastic article last week about the 10 most unhealthy “health” foods for kids. I’m elated to see mainstream web sites telling the truth about these products. Parents need to know this!
Parents are lied to by food companies about these products, and led to believe these are healthy foods for their children to eat. Labels are very deceptive. Maybe it says “all natural” or “organic“, “low calorie“, “low-sodium“, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for your child.
This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Besides not having nutrients, most of these foods have chemicals, stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, dyes, excitotoxins, and other additives to keep foods longer on the shelf and provide consistency in the way foods appear in the package, can, or box.
Here’s Babble’s list of 10 most unhealthy “health” foods marketed to kids:
- Granola bars
- Flavored organic yogurt
- Apple juice
- Rice milk
- Fruit leather
- Spaghetti sauce
- Turkey breast deli meat
- Dried fruit
- Rice cakes
- Multi-grain cereal
Although the foods which made this are a great start, there are thousands and thousand of others not on this list that are unhealthy too:
- Food bars
- Chips – even “organic”, “baked” and “no-trans fats” labeled
- Low-fat dairy foods like milk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheeses, spreadable cheeses, kefir, and others
- Canned “meal” foods like Chef-Boyardee, soups, chilis, stews (yes, even most organic varieties)
- Boxed cereals – which contain highly-processed, extruded grains
- Frozen waffles, pancakes, muffins, biscuits, and other similar foods
- Frozen pizzas, hot pockets, and meal entrees
- Energy drinks
- Most deli meats – even the organic varieties have MSG or engineered flavorings – read the labels and you’ll see “natural flavors”, “celery root powder”, or “carageenan”
It’s time to put these food companies in their place and stop buying their toxic, unhealthy products. Children need nutrients, and they are not getting them from products sold by the food industry. The food industry, like many others, isn’t about making sure you get a quality product for your health. Their one purpose for existence is to make money. And very few of them are conscientious or ethical enough to produce a high-quality product that you would actually want to eat. They spend more of their budget on the marketing of the product than the actual product itself.
Children need nutrition in their food. They need fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that are whole and complete. That nutrition is simply absent from most foods marketed to kids, and also sadly, most food products in general, sold on the consumer market. These food are altered, subjected to high temperatures, deodorized, extruded, irradiated, come from genetically-modified sources, full of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones.
Low-calorie and low-fat foods are harmful, period. Most foods with this wording on the labels are modified and have sugar and/or chemicals added to them. Nature has it right, why should we second-guess it and think we know better?
The way to make sure your kids get the nutrition they need:
- Avoid processed or packaged foods
- Serve your children healthy fats and proteins every day to support their brains, endocrine, digestive, and immune health: grass-fed meats and poultry, eggs from hens on pasture, organ meats, bone broths, raw milk and other dairy from healthy cows on pasture (milk, butter, cream, yogurt, kefir), seafood, cod liver oil, olive oil, coconut and palm oil, and lard and tallow from healthy animals on pasture
- Pack lunches for your children to take to school
- As much as possible, make everything from scratch at home
- Avoid buying conventional produce, grains, nuts, and legumes, choose organic and sustainable, and prepare them traditionally – with olive oil or coconut oil, cooked in butter, lard, or tallow, soaked, sprouted, or fermented/cultured. When foods are prepared traditionally, they are delicious and easier to digest.
- Buy from local, sustainable farmers who produce food in humane, healthy, and safe ways
- If you know your child is going somewhere with or without you and there will be foods served you don’t want him or her to eat, pack something in advance. Minimize sugary, processed treats and “food products” when your child goes places away from home by packing snacks or lunches when they go, having a reasonable limit on what they eat, and feeding them before you leave the house
- Try fermented cod liver oil for superior nutritional support. FCLO contains natural Vitamins A & D that are not synthetic, and also Omega 3s and many other nutrients your child needs for brain health, digestive, and immune support. See sources for more information.
This post is part of Sarah The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival.