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Home / Au Pair / 10 Kids’ Foods Considered Healthy That Aren’t
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Published on June 26, 2013, by in Au Pair.

All parents want to do what is best for their children. They want nothing more than for their offspring to be as healthy and as happy as possible. They go to the grocery store armed with a list and the best of intentions, and shop for foods that will both  nourish their children and keep them satisfied. However, marketing and misinformation has made it difficult to know what the right food choices are for today’s children. Unfortunately, many of the foods parents have been trusting to be healthy and wholesome actually are not. Some of these may surprise and disappoint you.

  • Juice - Most parents feel they are filling their children with vitamins when they offer them a cup of juice, and they are to a degree. However, juice also contains sugar. Just one cup of apple juice contains around 27 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends preschool children to have only 12 ½ grams of sugar per day, and kids ages four to eight should have less than 17 grams. So with just one cup of juice, a child will exceed his daily allowance of sugar. In addition to the sugar, juice contains over 100 calories per cup and is thought to have played a major part in the childhood obesity epidemic. Eating whole fruit is much better than drinking fruit juice because whole fruit contains fiber, which slows down the digestion process of the juice it contains. The child will process it slower and retain energy longer by eating the fruit itself rather than drinking only the juice.
  • Breakfast Cereal - While most kids’ cereals boast “whole grain” on their boxes, they still are not healthy foods. Sure, they are fortified with vitamins, but being fortified with vitamins does not remove the sugar, artificial colors and corn syrup that are found in many of these boxes.
  • Sports Drinks - Loaded with sugar, sodium, artificial colors and calories, sports drinks are not a healthy alternative to juice and soda. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have stated that consumption of sports drinks is contributing to the obesity epidemic, and that unless someone is doing at least an hour of intense exercise, they have no need for such beverages and water will suffice.
  • Kids’ Yogurt Products - While yogurt itself is usually a very healthy food, many of the yogurts aimed at children today are not. Check the label to ensure that your child’s yogurt contains live cultures, and that it contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. The healthiest way to go is to buy plain, organic yogurt and add fresh fruit to it yourself.
  • Peanut Butter - Peanut butter is a fairly healthy food choice, most of the time. Many parenting books recommend apples or crackers with peanut butter as a healthy snack. However, most commercial peanut butters contain hydrogenated oils. These oils turn to trans fats, which lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol. In addition, most peanut butters contain added sugar. There are peanut butters out there that are all natural and contain none of these problematic ingredients. Seek these out for your children.
  • Whole Milk - While whole milk used to be what pediatricians recommended for children to drink, the American Academy of Pediatrics now only recommends this until the age of two. After that, they recommend 1% due to the high fat content of whole milk.
  • Applesauce - Applesauce is being marketed to kids in a big way. It is sold in handy lunch box sized containers and even fun tubes with popular characters on the front. But many of these apple sauces are loaded with extra sugar, and some even contain artificial colors. Look for the labels that read “unsweetened” and “all natural” when shopping for your child.
  • Fruit Snacks - When fruit snacks hit the scene, they seemed like a fun and healthy treat that was so much better than candy. However, when you look at the labels of these popular snacks, they are not much different from candy at all. Many of the first ingredients you will find include sugar and corn syrup. Other common ingredients you may see are gelatin, which is often made from animal by-products, and artificial colors and flavors.
  • Granola Bars - Most parents find these to be a reasonable, energizing snack for their kids, especially when they’re on the go. However, today’s popular granola bars have evolved to something very different from the original bars made by enthusiastic hikers and campers. Many commercial granola bars contain lots of sugar and even the dreaded hydrogenated oils. The protein and all natural products from their ancestors are nowhere to be found in this new generation of granola bars. Better to get back to the basics and make your own.
  • Fish Sticks - Frozen fish sticks are not healthy. This is sure to be a blow to all parents who thought they found a convenient way to get omega-3 fatty acids into their picky children, but it’s true in many cases. Most brands are full of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, even if you are baking them at home, they have been previously fried in oil, making them high in fat as well. They are also high in sodium and missing most of the nutrients you get from fresh fish.
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