As soon as a woman becomes a parent, her priorities and responsibilities take a serious shift. No longer is she or her well-being the sole focus of her daily activities—now she has other people, little replica human beings—who rely on her for everything from shelter to clothing, entertainment and of course, food. Real talk though, how many times have you foregone breakfast or lunch because you only had enough time or energy to make food for the little one? So, we get it.
We get that sometimes you just need something quick and easy. Sometimes you need something that they can stuff into their chubby cheeks to give you five minutes of silence (well, as close to silence as you can get because they still haven’t mastered the art of quietly chewing). But here’s the thing, parents. We still need to be conscious of what exactly we are feeding our youngsters because more often than not, those “quick and easy’s” are worse than we can imagine.
As a parent, once that little person enters the world, we take it upon ourselves to ensure that every decision we make is for their benefit. So, what does that mean? It means that whenever we are inclined to give them any of the following 15 foods because it’s just more convenient, we need to think twice about it and weigh whether saving those two minutes is more important than putting our child at risk.
Prepare yourself for this one because if you grew up anything like me, then you probably ate goldfish almost every day. But these happy snacks that smile back are not being completely honest with us! On the front of the package we can see that they are made with whole grain (score) and real cheese (nice!), so as a parent we feel all warm and fuzzy inside because we made an excellent choice for our kiddos. But one flip of the package to the ingredients list and good feelings gone.
The first thing we notice is the enriched wheat flour—basically, anything enriched means that all that natural nutrients were stripped and the stuff they added back in, not at all natural (or healthy). Next, the cheese—the one thing that makes these special treats just that special. The cheese that goldfish use is not organic which means that it comes from a GMO cow source (sadness). So while it might be tempting to hand your child a bag of happy fish, think again.
Is the inner child in your head screaming “No!”? Mine is. But yes, it’s true, pop tarts are dangerously unhealthy for everyone. It seems like such a great option in the morning when you’re racing around trying to find the lost pages of homework and that one school shoe that always decides to play hide and seek - but believe me, this should not even be anywhere near your pantry. The ingredients used in pop tarts are scary as basically everything in it is genetically modified, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (kill me now), sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors, oh, and did I mention sugar?
It’s sad, I know, but do yourself and your family a favor and throw the box away. All of these ingredients have been linked to life threatening diseases time and time again. High fructose corn syrup in and of itself has been linked to weight gain and type II diabetes. Don’t become a statistic over a toaster pastry.
We have mentioned artificial flavors in almost every food item listed so far (and you will see it mentioned again, I assure you). Nesquik is not an exception here at all. While you may believe it is a healthy option because, you know, it’s milk at the end of the day, think again. Not only is it packed to the brim with sugars which have a serious effect on your child’s growth, it also has a running list of chemicals which the company likes to keep under wraps by listing only “artificial flavors” on the ingredients label. For those of us who aren't entirely sold on the dangers of artificial flavors, let me break it down for you.
Natural flavors occur naturally and they are created from edible sources. Artificial flavors occur in labs and they are created from inedible sources which are processed to be added to foods. It's no wonder that artificial flavors have been linked to many issues with the nervous system including depression and aggression. Do not be fooled by the happy rabbit handing you a glass of what seems to be perfectly delicious chocolate milk, he might as well be handing you a beaker riddled with threatening chemicals that can potentially affect your child’s growth and behavior.
I know, we have all heard this time and time again, but for whatever reason, we still see a clear majority of children drinking sodas. These carbonated beverages have been linked to many concerning health issues including but not limited to obesity, diabetes, increased dental risks, and other negative social behaviors including a tendency towards aggression.
Not only is the amount of sugar contained in a bottle of soda shocking to the eyes, it is also shocking to the body, especially one that needs as many nutrients as possible to grow and develop appropriately. Children who consume soda regularly are not only filling up their own bodies with empty calories but in turn, they are depriving themselves of the right amount of water to stay hydrated and healthy. We know that soda might be an easy solution, but it is definitely not a good one and it needs to be avoided by parents at all costs.
Come on, parents. Every single one of us is guilty of this sooner or later. We are just too tired to cook lunch or dinner and it’s literally just a matter of climbing into your car, going through a drive through and going home with a ready-made meal. But what are we really serving our families? Most likely they are about to eat a highly processed meat patty with bits of added “meat alternatives” sprinkled throughout on an enriched flour bun.
Not only that, but this burger has been sitting underneath a heat lamp just waiting to be selected for its little take home bag for one tired mom or dad. Jump over to the fries that have been literally baked and tossed in grease and oil and then doused in an unnatural level of salt. Mmm, can you say heart attack? It’s really no wonder that there has been a scary rise in heart diseases in children.
Sigh, does this mean that all BBQs with hamburgers and hot dogs have officially been ruined? No, not at all. Here is what you need to be aware of. First of all, hot dogs are the leading cause of choking in toddlers and young children. Why is that? Because they are the perfect shape to get wedged in your child’s throat and stay there, if not perfectly chewed and swallowed.
Secondly, the kid friendly versions of hot dogs are so packed with processed meats that by the end of the ingredients list, you’ll wonder if there is anything real in this hot dog at all. Don’t even get me started on the hot dogs with “real cheese” in the middle. Just no. Do not fret! There are plenty of healthy alternatives to hot dogs that you can use! And just be sure to cut them up enough to avoid any choking hazards.
I think every parent out there has to have had these at some point—it was the ultimate TV dinner or the go-to the-babysitter-is-coming-over dinner option. You just pop it into the microwave and bam! A whole dinner ready in minutes. And with the chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese and let’s not forget, the chocolate pudding, I mean what could possibly go wrong? Everything. Everything is wrong with this meal from beginning to end. The list of ingredients goes on forever and every ingredient there is processed and packed with GMO’s.
Don’t even get me started on the crazy amount of food coloring. These unnatural ingredients have been linked to all types of heart disorders, hyperactivity, and cancer. Just do me a favor, if you’re in the grocery store and you see these little TV dinners, run away as fast as you can. You’d probably get sick just by looking at them.
We can’t talk about food coloring and not bring up Froot Loops. I mean, there is not one single part of that food that is naturally colored. Why? Because they know the brighter the box and the more colorful the foods, the more they can attract the little people. As if that weren’t enough, it has been reported that these cereals contain traces of weed killer! Why? Because of the amount of corn and soy used in the cereals. Yikes!
Next time you pour your child a bowl of Froot Loops, just imagine filling up their plate with your garden variety weed killer and throw in some corn kernels as well just to make sure they can’t fully digest it all. But don’t be surprised when your child has hyperactivity or increased difficulty with focusing. That should pretty much cover it!
Anytime you see the word fried—just run in the opposite direction. We aren’t dumb people and we already know that fried foods are linked to so many health issues even for adults, so just imagine the negative impact that it’s having on your child’s body that is trying to still grow and develop. Your child needs the nutrients to sustain the amount of development occurring on a daily basis—and don’t worry, even though you may not be able to see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in the background.
Eating fried foods is like putting stop signs all over your body making it so easy to develop clots and other aortic diseases. Do not try to defend your choice by saying, “Well, it’s chicken.” Because at that point after it’s been fried, it’s pretty much not chicken at all and any health “benefits” have been stripped away.
Let’s be honest, any food item likely to survive a zombie apocalypse we do not want to have in our cupboards at home. Twinkies are like the cockroaches of the food category because they will literally survive anything considering the amount of unnatural ingredients involved in its creation. The Twinkie is the king of the snack group for having a whole host of trans fat ingredients—by far the worst fat option out there.
On top of that, we’ve got the enriched flours, the high fructose corn syrup, artificial food coloring…need I continue? Twinkies are toxic and at no point should they be an option for you or your child no matter how convenient they might be at that time. Actually, while we are at it, stay away from all of those cream filled cakes and we should be good.
Ah, yes. I recall those days at lunch time when I would trade half of my home-made sandwich for one cracker, a slice of “ham” and “cheese” from my friend's Lunchable. Little did I know then what exactly went into that tiny cracker sandwich. Lunchables are the ultimate scavenger hunt for the unhealthiest food alternatives. GMOs? Check! Trans fat? Check! Artificial coloring? Check! Processed meats and cheese? Check! I mean, come on, let’s be honest any food that lists a “cheese product” instead of real cheese needs to stay far, far away from your child’s body.
Especially at lunch time when they need that extra boost of energy to make it through the rest of the day. It might be a time saver for you in the morning, but it is such a disservice to your child both immediately as it severely messes with their ability to stay focused, and in the long run as these are linked to cancer.
No, no, no. Potato chips are nothing—literally, they contain no healthy nutrients and they do not fill you up. As a matter of fact, how many times have you eaten potato chips only to feel even hungrier shortly after? If that weren’t enough, the majority of potato chips are made with unhealthy levels of oils and then doused with different seasonings to give it that special flavor. A recent study has shown that potato chips contain insane levels of acrylamide which is directly linked to cancer. So, what did the potato chip companies do?
They lowered the levels of the acrylamide just enough so that they wouldn’t have to put a cancer-causing label on its products. And don’t be fooled by the “baked chip” products either—those are not any better. Think about that next time you’re about to hand your child a bag of chips.
We mentioned fries before when we talked about fast food dangers, but just to really drive this home, we thought maybe French fries deserve a special call out on our list. Just consider the fact that people are taking potatoes and literally drowning them in oils—we are talking about dousing our potatoes in saturated fats which can cause diabetes and cancer. Another huge concern is that the oils and bad fats used to make French fries also increase the risk of blood clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The rate of cancer in children 2-4 years of age is on the rise, and while I’m not suggesting that French fries are the sole cause, I am asking you, is it worth the risk? Then you add the amount of salt used to coat those fries, and well, you’re looking at a whole host of potential issues.
I know what you’re thinking: “Grapes?? This lady must be insane, how can grapes be unhealthy for my child?” And I’m going to have to agree with you, if the grapes you're feeding your child are organic and grown in a non-fertilized environment, you should be safe. But there are two things to point out here: 1) Grapes are right up there with hot dogs as far as being an extremely hazardous food for children to eat because of the choking hazard. Again, if they are not properly cut, they are the perfect size to get caught right in your little one’s throat.
2) Grapes that are grown in areas which use fertilizer are HIGHLY dangerous for your children. It’s like serving them little balls of poison. When we are feeding our children, we just need to be extra cautious about what is going inside of their little bodies. And always be certain to wash off your grapes no matter what!
This yogurt product seems to be a dream come true for most parents who are on the go and the advertising campaign does everything to make sure we know it is the most convenient snack out there. But once again, we need to make a choice between what is more important: convenience or healthy ingredients. Any snack that has dairy products needs to be carefully reviewed because of the tendency for those snacks to be packed with GMO ingredients and other chemicals and sugars to improve the “taste”.
Dairy products are also known to use preservatives so it won’t go bad as quickly. What does this mean? It could cause a whole host of adverse reactions for your child including damage to their DNA. There are other options out there for you! Do your research, and trust me, it will be worth it.