When it comes to baby’s nutrition, mom figures they can trust certain items to give the baby a great headstart in life. Moms know that cavities and poor health can be attributed to eating too much sugar. Some foods that moms think are super healthy for their tots are actually hiding away boatloads of sugar that can lead to health issues later in life.
Yikes! Before worried mothers decide to raid the refrigerator and pantry, looking for offending items to throw out at once, hold on a moment. As much as a mom may try, it is nearly impossible to completely cut out everything. The whole point of this article is to raise some awareness, okay? So relax.
It’s not enough for mom to just trust major labels for healthier food choices. Even pre-made baby foods may contain hidden amounts of sugar, which mom may want their little one to avoid consuming. When in doubt, mom should make sure to look over nutrition labels carefully, consult their child’s pediatrician, and plan out well-balanced diets.
There are healthy alternatives to some of the foods on this list, which do have significantly large amounts of sugar included. In some instances, mom can opt to make her own foods for baby, to cut down on exposure to foods with high sugar levels.
15 Pre-Made Baby Foods
This may come as a shock, but some pre-made baby foods are actually full of sugar. As many mothers depend on pre-made baby foods for the convenience, saving time, and ensuring their tot’s nutritional requirements are met, this can be a real let-down.
And conventional baby foods are not the only guilty culprit either, as some baby foods touted as organic or natural can be guilty of packing on the teaspoons of sugar for flavor and taste. When in doubt, mom should consult the nutritional label, and offer their child a variety of foods to eat.
Mom can choose to feed their little one homemade baby food, such as mashed bananas, slightly pureed carrot pieces, and other healthy things that are not prepackaged. In addition to concerns over sugar, moms should look at whether the containers are BPA-free, and opt for more vegetables over fruit for the baby.
14 Frozen Ready-To-Eat Meals
Convenience meals that you can pop into the microwave oven to heat up may be okay fare for adults, but for babies, it’s not the best nutrition in the world. You might think that sodium is the culprit, but in fact, many frozen dinners, or microwave TV dinners are packed with hidden sugar.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, the average frozen ready-to-eat meal typically has 30 to 40 grams per serving of added sugars. And yes, mom was right to worry about salt, as they contain around 500 to 600 milligrams of sodium.
The added sugars may make up for a frozen dinner’s lackluster appeal to the eyes and palate, but too much refined sugar and salt can increase the risk of obesity, disease, and high blood pressure. It’s better for mom to make an at-home meal instead.
Yogurt is a great way for baby to have something smooth and cool to enjoy eating and get a dose of calcium for strong bones and emerging teeth. However, some yogurts contain a dirty secret. Many popular yogurts available at the store have incredibly obscene amounts of sugar.
No, mom doesn’t have to worry about their little one getting a sugar rush from munching on candies, or typical sweet treats, because yogurt may have more sugar than previously thought. It pays for mom to be mindful of portion sizes and nutrition labels before feeding a tot.
According to Medical Daily, yogurt that contains fruit, chocolate, or other sweet tidbits may have more sugar than plain counterparts. Moms also want to be cautious about artificial sweeteners too, because of potential adverse effects.
12 Nut Butters Like Peanut Butter
When mom wants to offer their child an easy form of healthy plant protein, they often choose peanut butter. Peanut butter goes great with banana slices, jam, and bread, or on crackers. However, peanut butter may also be hiding loads of sugar, which mom won’t want their baby nomming on.
Mom can avoid excessive amounts of sugar in peanut butter, by either grinding their own fresh nut butter or choosing brands that contain less sugar. It’s not just refined sugar that mom needs to watch out for, as according to Medical Daily, some brands of peanut butter include honey or artificial sweeteners to make taste buds happy.
Peanut butter is not the only culprit when it comes to familiar food favorites containing too much sugar. Nut butter made from cashews and almonds can also be offenders too. So mom, watch those nutrition labels like a hawk.
11 Non-Dairy Milks
Thanks to the wide range of tastes in foods, non-dairy milk has become more readily available for choosy moms. However, sugar has managed to put a damper on things, depending on how much mom is willing to let baby and the rest of the family drink.
Of course, mom may figure that non-dairy milk made from soy, hemp, rice, or almonds that are flavored with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla have more sugar. They are not completely off the mark. Coconut milk is typically naturally sweet enough, but the food industry has their ways about things.
According to Health Matters, some chocolate soy milk has almost comparable amounts of sugar as in a single cup of soda. When in doubt, mom should screen nutrition labels for the amounts of sugar in non-dairy milk, or consider even making homemade non-dairy milk from scratch.
10 Tomato Sauce And Ketchup
Sauces like ketchup, pre-made pasta sauces, barbecue sauce, and other tasty condiments may add a boost of flavor, but they can also heap on the spoonfuls of sugar. According to Huffington Post, sugar is the reason why up to 80 percent of the calories in that condiment exist. Yikes!
Since babies have relatively clean palates, it is better for mom to forego drowning foods like french fries, animal proteins, or other dishes in boatloads of sauce. Baby won’t notice, as much as mom or dad might think that they will. If mom feels up to it, there is always the option to make your own sauce, so the amount of sugar within is limited. This way, mom can save on the amount of sugar passed on to her little one, and potentially save money on sugar-laden sauces. Now that’s a sweet deal!
9 Salad Dressings
WebMD is not only a source for giving the low-down on various health conditions, and offering helpful suggestions to boot. No, WebMD also has a section focused on covering diet and weight management, and moms may be in for a shock. There’s hidden sugar in salad dressing.
Even healthier seeming vinaigrette dressing isn’t safe, as there are heaping amounts of sugar in these dressings. So, it gives a health-focused mother a good reason to just go the old-fashioned route of dousing the family salad with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of pre-made salad dressing from off the shelf.
According to WebMD, just 2 tablespoons of sweet salad dressings like Catalina or raspberry vinaigrette can have anywhere from 5 to 7 grams of sugar. You don’t have to drown the veggies in sweet sauces to get baby salivating for more.
8 Dried Fruit
It is a no-brainer that fruit is a natural form of sugar and fiber. So, what could be the problem? Unfortunately, with dried fruit, preservatives if used, and the whole dehydration process leads to an increased concentration of sugar. So dried fruits not only provide a useful edible teething toy for tots but they also secretly slide in tons of sugar. Great, so now what?
According to experts interviewed for a Time Magazine article, dried fruit is a healthy snack to munch on. It is wise to keep the serving size small. Overeating dried fruits can lead to consuming way too much sugar.
As sweet as dried fruits are, and travel-friendly for trips to the park, zoo, or in the car, mom just needs to limit the number of dried apricots, prunes, or banana chips she gives to her beloved babe for good measure.
Applesauce has such a warm and cozy aura about it. It pairs nicely with potato pancakes, is fun to eat on its own, and conveniently comes in a glass jar, or individual travel pack. There is a downside, and it’s name is too much sugar added.
Unlike homemade applesauce lovingly prepared at home, prepackaged applesauce has whopping amounts of sugar in it, and should be avoided. If it wasn’t enough for mothers to fret over whether their choice of food product has artificial sweeteners, or what a product label may mean when it says natural, there’s the issue of too much sugar added.
Thankfully, when it comes to applesauce there are some brands that are unsweetened, or mom can try their hand at making their own applesauce. Unsweetened applesauce can be added to recipes as a sugar replacement, according to a YMCA blog on healthy living.
6 Crackers And Potato Crisps
Okay, many moms are guilty of letting their little ones get away with munching on convenience snacks like snack crackers or potato chips. But, even foods that you think would have too much salt in them, which can be undesirable, may, in fact, have more sugar than expected.
Potato chips are one of the unhealthiest junk foods around, and not because they usually get fried to a crisp. Although you can purchase potato chips that are baked which is a tad bit healthier, sugar is added to many beloved potato chips.
Crackers are not much better either. Even though mom may love to give their teething little one a cracker to nom on, mom needs to scan the nutritional labels carefully. Depending on the number of snacks doled out to the baby, they may end up consuming more sugar than good.
5 Canned Soup
There’s nothing like a hot cup or bowl of soup to warm up on a chilly day, or when you want a quick and easy meal to eat. Unfortunately, as delicious as soups may be to consume, certain brands have hidden sugar lurking about, adding on extra calories.
Professor Graham MacGregor, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and The London Hospital, has been speaking out over looming dangers of sugar hidden within foods. Some canned soups may have as much as 5 teaspoons of sugar per can.
Hidden amounts of sugar in canned soups and other popular beloved food items, can contribute to obesity and diabetes, add no nutritional value, and are unnecessary additives. If mom is worried over the soup she feeds her little one, when she can, she should consider making soup from scratch, sans added sugar.
4 Fruit Juice
Fruit is a healthy snack that is easy to digest, colorful, and fun to eat. When it comes to fruit juice, depending on how the juice is processed, there may be appalling levels of sugar hiding in every sip. Before mom begins freaking out, let's see what to look out for.
Fruit juice is a go-to for many parents and children because it is thought to be more nutritious than other drinks. Although fruit may have vitamins and nutrients, processed fruit juice is more suspect because of unnecessary added sugar.
When fruit juice is created, many of the properties that make fruit healthy and beneficial are stripped away, leaving concentrated sugar in liquid form. According to Watch Fit, drinking sugary fruit juices can quickly cause the blood sugar to rise, and pack on the calories and pounds.
3 Instant Cereals
Instant cereals for breakfast is a great way for many mothers to introduce their young ones to fiber-packed cereals, whole grains, and easy to cook. However, not all cereals are created equal because some instant cereals are secretly tucking away loads of sugar in every spoonful.
According to the World Health Organization, sugar intake needs to be reduced to a mere 5 percent of daily calories consumed. When many mothers offer their babies food, it may be just a smaller portion of instant foods made with adults in mind.
Even instant cereals made just for babies and toddlers aren’t innocent either. The food industry loves putting in extra doses of sugar. If mom is not cautious about the type of instant cereal baby is eating, the extra hidden sugar could potentially incite health problems down the line.
2 Fruit Cups
Fruit cups are individually packaged, full of colorful fruit swimming around, and are great for traveling. But fruit cups are also guilty of leaving fruit preserved in a swirl of sugary liquid, which simply adds on more sugar to an already sweet fruit.
Yes, some mothers might let this one slide, because of fond childhood memories around eating fruit cups for a snack. Fruit cups are also a fun way to introduce baby to new foods, without freaking out too much over the portion size, or having to prepare fruit first. And trust me, I too, grew up eating peaches or mixed fruit cups as a youth.
However, as mothers, we have to look out for our children’s health. We must consider food choices based on what is healthy, familiar, frugal, and mother’s intuition. Mothers might want to pass on the fruit cups.
1 Packaged Deli Meats
Deli meats are one of those things that either you love or hate. Many people grew up eating slices of processed deli meats tucked away in shiny plastic containers, and think nothing about letting their baby nom on a slice or two.
After all, since pregnancy is over, mom doesn’t have to stress about avoiding deli meat because of risks of listeria, e.coli, or getting sick because of improper food handling. Once the baby arrives, the little one can munch on almost whatever mom is having as a snack.
However, deli meats are not only guilty of being full of preservatives, nitrates, and sodium. Mom may want to consider limiting exposing her little one to chowing down on a slice of salami, ham, or pastrami because of hidden sugar. Say what? It’s deli meat, right? Well, there’s hidden sugar in that too folks, and don’t forget included corn syrup.
Sources:Mind Body Green, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, Everyday Health, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Medical Daily, Health Matters, WebMD, Time Magazine, YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Watch Fit, Food Babe