Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

The 10 Most Unhealthy “Health” Foods Marketed to Kids: Babble’s List

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:

  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Food bars
  • Breads
  • Chips – even “organic”, “baked” and “no-trans fats” labeled
  • Pastas
  • Bagels
  • 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
  • Spritzers
  • Juice
  • Nuts
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Choose raw milk from healthy cows on pasture and make cultured dairy products from them
  • 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.

More information:

Deceptions in the food industry: low-fat foods

Deceptions in the food industry: whole grains

Deceptions in the food industry: low-sodium and no salt added

Healthy fats make healthy children

Healthy lunch ideas for kids:  how to pack a brown bag lunch

Deceptions in the food industry: all-natural

Meals for children restaurants and school lunches are lacking in nutrition

Turn main courses into nourishing school lunch meals in minutes!

 This post is part of Sarah The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival




14 replies on “The 10 Most Unhealthy “Health” Foods Marketed to Kids: Babble’s List”

There is always room for improvement, but I have been trying to implement all of these foods for my daughter and I, and the new baby on the way. My 21 month old loves salmon eggs and FCLO! So that helps a lot. She is also great at eating soup. Start them early and there is no telling what they might take to!

Good job Sara! I am sure your daughter and new baby will reap tremendous benefits from you being such a conscientious mama and giving them nourishing foods. You are absolutely right, when they are little, they will eat almost anything as their palettes and tastes are not yet spoiled by processed foods and sugar. Might as well start when they are young and you have the most control over what they eat. 🙂

I agree Sara, I have found the same to be true with my kids! My youngest tries to steal bites of other family member’s FCLO, lol! And my kids already have an affinity for grass-fed butter, seafood, and even liver. My older son will even tell me all about how certain foods on TV or in the store aren’t good for us, and that they have “chamicals”. So cute 🙂

I agree with every one except the spaghetti sauce. What’s wrong with spaghetti sauce?

Laurie – most canned or jarred spaghetti sauce is pretty unhealthy and full of sugar and chemicals. Of course there are some brands that are okay, but if I had to buy a commercial sauce, I’d always opt for something with a few ingredients as possible and organic. Also, many cans contain BPA or other harmful chemicals. So I always make my own at home. The reason being that I know exactly what goes in it and it tastes really good…it also only takes me a few minutes to throw it together. For these reasons home-made versus store-bought is a clear choice, for me. If I can’t make sauce from fresh tomatoes I buy Bionaturae in glass jars, organic, and BPA-free:

There are some other brands from Italy that I would trust because they are non-GMO there and mindful of farming practices. There’s a brand I buy at my health food store that is a great price but I can’t remember the name of it now since I don’t have any in my pantry. They are organic and cheaper than Bionaturae, and I buy them whenever I see them because they are very similar and less cost. I just add olive oil and seasonings to my tomatoes and I have perfect spaghetti sauce. Of course, our family rarely eats pasta as well because we try to avoid grains, but when we do we eat organic brown rice pasta.

No argument there Raine- but that distinction should be made. I make my own sauce, from tomatoes I purchase in GLASS. So that list should probably read, “canned spaghetti sauce”. =)

Laurie – really though, this post is intended to talk about processed foods (see the first paragraph where it does mention that outright). And since the majority of spaghetti sauce on the market – with few exceptions being really healthy and organic, it seems like it goes without saying that if you make your own at home, it’s fine. It’s definitely not even talking about or mentioning home-made items.

Also, I do state specifically at the top of the post that even if it’s labeled “organic” or “natural”, that doesn’t make it healthy to consume, so that distinction should be implicit.

While I believe you are on the right track here, I do not agree with you regarding dairy. I will never agree that dairy is good for humans – adults or children. Whether it is non-fat, low-fat, whole, pasteurized, grass-fed, or RAW doesn’t change the fact that dairy products originate from cow milk which was meant for baby cows, not humans.

Comments are closed.