“Don’t feed your kid this?” “Don’t let your children drink that.” Are these things you have heard or been told before? In our world today, we often hear about foods or drinks we should avoid consuming, and when it comes to your kids and teens, you may want to dig a little deeper to make sure the foods and beverages your young ones are consuming, aren’t hurting their health.
Your children are still growing and developing, and thus, the wrong types of food and drink can impair their normal, healthy development and growth. The number of research studies on bad foods is too high to count, so I have narrowed down five major food types you should avoid giving your children at all costs.
Juice - Juice pouches are nothing but liquid sugar. Even if you consider them as “natural”, children do not gain any of the vitamins and minerals that they would if they were to just eat real fruits and vegetables. Not to mention, the added sugars contained in juice can easily lead to both dental and health issues, such as cavities, diabetes and obesity.
Soda - Like juice, soda is essentially just carbonated sugar. A 12- ounce bottle of soda has an average of 31 grams of sugar, which is almost as much, if not more, than the recommended grams of sugar children should consume in an entire day.
Processed foods - Processed foods lack good nutrition as well as vitamins and minerals that children need for optimal health. Further, not only do processed foods lack good nutrition, they contain loads of sodium, bad fat, and other preservatives. Examples include the pre-cooked frozen meals at the grocery store and fast food. Although these types of meals may be ultra-convenient, the risk far outweighs the reward. Instead, they are best enjoyed on rare occasions.
Caffeine - Around every corner is a Starbucks or other coffee shop, and now, even young children are buzzed on caffeine. Caffeine can lead to sleep issues with children, and healthy sleep is a vital component for healthy growing and development. Soft drinks contain a good amount of caffeine so be very careful and read labels.
Artificial sweeteners - Many parents rely on artificial sweeteners rather than sugar to sweeten things up for their children. However, there is research that suggests artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame, can actually be worse for your children than sugar. A major, yet debatable, concern of aspartame is that it is a cause of cancer. Other health concerns include obesity and diabetes.
Whether it be high sugar content, high sodium, high fat, sleep interference, or health issues, eliminating or at least limiting the amount of these foods your children consume can help make them healthy eaters, strong sleepers, and good growers.
Blyth, Antonia. Worst Foods to Give Your Kids. Lifestyle. February 2013. https://mom.me/lifestyle/6044-worst-foods-give-your-kids/item/worst2c/
Donvito, Tina. 10 Toxic Things You Didn’t Know You Were Feeding Your Kids. Reader’s Digest. https://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/toxic-things-in-kids-food/
Junti, Melaina. 11 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Kids. Newsweek. October 2015. http://www.newsweek.com/11-foods-you-should-never-feed-your-kids-386711