It is an everyday struggle for parents to ensure that their children are eating wholesome, healthy foods. While adults understand that a balanced diet consists of lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, grains, fruit and dairy, these foods don’t appeal to a lot of children.
Eating a well-balanced diet including healthy foods from each of these food groups will give a child the vital nutrients that they need to grow. It will promote good health and help your children fight against chronic disease.
It is essential to encourage healthy eating and be persistent when a child is a fussy eater. They will thank you in the future for your focus on good nutrition and avoidance of the foods with hidden fats and sugars.
What are the foods you should avoid?
We have put together a list of the eight worst foods you should avoid offering your children.
1. Kids’ Breakfast Cereal
The breakfast cereals on the market that are grabbing the attention of children are usually in brightly coloured boxes with characters and are exciting for the children. Unfortunately, these cereals have no nutritional value in them.
A parent should search for a breakfast cereal option that has less than 10 grams of sugar per serve and at least 3 grams of fibre per serving. An ideal choice would be whole grain oatmeal with yoghurt and fruit which is high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
2. Granola Bars
Full of sugar, artificial ingredients and with no nutritional value, a granola bar is a snack that everyone should avoid, including the children.
Making your granola bars at home with natural ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, honey, peanut butter, coconut and whole grain cereals is a much better alternative and can be fun to create together.
3. Processed Meats
Processed meats or luncheon meats, as they can also be called, can be both dangerous and toxic for your health because they may contain nitrates. Nitrates are preservatives used in food processing that drastically increase the risk of chronic disease, especially cancer. It is best to check the labels and avoid meat that contains nitrates; instead choosing organic products or ones that do not contain preservatives.
4. Snack Cakes
Snack cakes such as Wagon Wheels, Twinkies and Ho-Hos are popular with children however they are full of trans fats and are an unhealthy choice to give to your children. For a sweet alternative why not offer sweet mixed berries or grapes or bake cookies from natural ingredients.
5. French Fries
French fries are high in fat and sodium and have no nutritional value. Although french fries can be convenient to give to children, it is best to restrict them and offer them only occasionally. There are healthier alternatives available such as oven baked chips or potato wedges.
Pizza is often a staple meal on the menu for when you are chasing something quick and easy. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of nutritional value in a store-bought pizza. However, if you have the bases at home, you can have fun making up your pizza, and by adding healthy, fresh ingredients, it can be nutritious too!
Most crackers on the market are made from ingredients that are processed including white flour, preservatives, and unhealthy oils. Choose a brand of crackers that are made with fibrous whole grains which is a healthier choice and you will stay satisfied for longer.
8. Fruit Snacks
Although the package may read “Made with real fruit” these fruit snacks are made out of a lot of added sugar and are considered more like a candy. Children need Most fruit real fruit and fiber in the form of whole dried fruit, like raisins or apricots, or fresh grapes, berries, and sliced apples and pears.
Try and avoid offering these eight foods to your children. A well-balanced diet full of healthy foods will help your children grow strong and healthy, and they will thank you for it in the future.