5 Things You Should Never Feed Your Kids
The 5 Worst Things You Can Feed Your Kids
Most parents try to do their best with raising their children, with providing the healthiest foods they can and teaching their kids about good nutrition typically ranking high in matters of import.
It's not always easy, especially when one of your kid's BFFs brings Twinkies to school or has the latest crappy fast food toy that seems oh-so-cool to a 5 year-old. And, though you may be tempted to succumb to less-than-healthy foods sometimes, here are five that you should never, ever, contemplate letting your kid eat.
Dietition and Wellness Manager Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. has shared this rundown of the 5 worst things you can feed your kids, which points to avoiding excessive sugar, processed foods and food stuffed with preservatives or loaded with trans fats.
Seems like a no brainer, right?
Soda - Kids get a taste of the sweet stuff and it's a slippery slope, but it's best to keep your kids from drinking soda if only for the empty calories alone. Kirkpatrick notes that a 12-ounce bottle of cola has 40 grams of sugar or about 10 teaspoons, which translates to the equivalent of three servings of vanilla ice cream. Additionally, one study has found that long-term soda consumption is associated with poor bone health.
Fruit juice - This one is often a surprise to parents, but there's a lot of sugar and empty calories here and often juice takes the place of healthier options, like water or milk. Whole fruits rather than juice are always better and while kids can have fruit juice, it's best in moderation or diluted (mix three parts water and one part juice -- I seriously did this for my kids for years and they never liked the taste of full strength juice).
Food coloring - Food dyes are bad, the FDA discovered, linking food coloring with hyperactivity in kids with ADHD. A study from the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry supports this, though they note further research is necessary. Kirkpatrick also points out that foods with food dyes added are generally processed as well, which of course, means they are loaded with white flour, sugar, fat and sodium.
Processed meals - Most anything that's quick and easy to make out of a box or in the freezer section is pretty scarce on nutrition. There's a lot of sodium and additives in the mix -- read nutrition labels and you'll be hard pressed to find anything that's good on the list.
Hot dogs and processed lunch meats - Most kids love hot dogs and some like deli meat, but be aware of the nitrates, a preservative added to prevent the growth of bacteria or preserve flavor. Eating these processed meats have been linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes.