My toddler used to like broccoli. At times, it was as though she could not eat enough of it. But, one week ago, after I introduced toast, and she loved it, she has no tolerance for the non-crunchy veggies. (They have to be soft for her because she doesn’t have enough teeth yet.) In any case, I have thought about all the times I quietly judged parents for the food they give their children…as I worked at hiding the spinach between two little pieces of crackers.
It really is amazing how children, like adults, can learn to crave what’s bad for them. It isn’t necessarily that they do not like healthier food; but, somehow, the stuff at McDonald’s is always more enticing. Well, here’s a little practical list to help you out in the adventure of figuring out what to feed your children.
Cereal: Cap’n Crunch
Cap’n Crunch made the list because it is full of empty calories. What’s in this cereal: sugar, lots of sugar. Here are a few other ingredients:
Corn flour makes up the bulk of each crunch, and sugar, brown sugar, and coconut oil hold it together. This cereal is also coated with loads of the food colorings yellow 6 and 5, which have been linked to irritability and poor behavior in children.
There are plenty of other options of cereals with some nutritional value for children.
Snack: Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Jack Cheese
The 210 calories and 370 mg of sodium are not the reason for this snack making the list of worst foods to give your child. Instead, it’s the amount of transfat in the cheese and crackers. How much transfat in this little snack?
They made the list because each package contains 2 days’ worth of trans fats.
Worst Drink: SunnyD Smooth Style
Is it supposed to be orange juice?! No. Just more sugar!
Don’t mistake SunnyD for OJ; there’s just 5 percent real juice in this bottle, which means the other 95 percent is well-marketed sugar water.
It’s hard enough to get children to eat right at home. Going out can be a bigger challenge. Here are a few tips on meals to avoid when you go out.
Atlanta Bread Company Peanut Butter & Jelly
What could be so wrong with peanut butter and jelly? For starters, they use french bread for the sandwich. Then, they add potato chips as part of the “meal.” Suddenly, you’ve got more than double the calories for a sandwich you can make at home.
Boston Market’s Kids’ Meat Loaf with Sweet Potato Casserole and Cornbread
This description says it all!
This slab-o-meat begins as beef and ends as a science project with 55 ingredients that include the understandable (cheese cultures), the detestable (partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil), and the unpronounceable (azodicarbonamide). Stack the amalgamation next to a sugar-and-cream-injected sweet potato and a starchy piece of cornbread and you’re asking your kid to be the lab rat.
They suggest you go for the Roast Turkey instead. You can’t go wrong since you can pretty much see exactly what’s in it!
The list is much more extensive than this and it offers substitutes for each of the items to avoid. When it comes to what to avoid, it seems that taking a moment to find out the ingredients and common sense will go a long way.