Keep These Unhealthy Foods Away From Your Kids!
Written by: Brandon Epstein
You’re under attack!!!
You may not know it, but there are a lot of companies out there scheming on how to get you to buy their product for your child.
Next time you see a food commercial with a child in it, really pay attention to how they are using your own emotions against you to get you to buy their product.
Everyone wants to be a good parent, so if a company markets a food as a product that is going to make your child healthier and happier – of course you’re going to be drawn to it.
Emotions are a powerful thing, but you need to make sure that they are serving your greatest good and the greatest good of your family.
That’s why, when it comes to picking food for your child, you need to ignore the happy leprechaun dancing around on the Lucky Charms commercial and pay more attention to what ingredients are in that food.
As much as a product may be marketed as “a delicious part of a nutritious breakfast,” you need to remember that those are just words.
You need to ultimately decide what is, in fact, a nutritious food that is worthy of being consumed by your child.
Let’s take a minute to really analyze what’s in these common lunch foods by running through a list of 20 foods you should keep away from your kids:
1. Sugary Cereals
Sugary cereals are an easy fix to a quick snack for your child, but most of them are filled with a ton of harmful preservatives, artificial dyes and, of course, sugar. Specifically, stay away from the most colorful cereals – Fruit Loops, Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms – you get the picture. If you see over 10 grams of sugar per serving, that should be a red flag that that cereal should not be eaten by your child (or you for that matter).
2. Microwave Meals
It’s fair to say most of these are not going to be ideal for healthy eating. Some of the worst microwave meals out there include foods like hot pockets. If you look at the list of ingredients, you will see a list so long your brain will start to hurt. If there are over 5 ingredients, especially numerous that you have never heard of or can’t pronounce – steer clear.
3. Fake Cheese
Everyone knows about those Kraft singles, but do you know what they are made out of? I’ll give you a hint – not just dairy. To create these “things,” the makers have to add in a bunch of other supplemental ingredients to give them substance. If you are going to give your kids cheese, give them real cheese. Just make sure it’s organic to avoid hormones.
4. Capri Sun
Capri Suns have been getting handed out after soccer games for years, but why? Though they are misleadingly labeled “all natural,” they are mostly made up of high fructose corn syrup.
5. Sunny Delight
Like Capri Suns and many other juice boxes, Sunny Delight has been sent off in kid’s lunches for years, but again, this beverage is far from healthy. To put it nicely, Sunny D is basically very well marketed sugar water. Most store bought juices fall into this same category. You’re better off making your own to avoid all the junk.
There was a time when people thought all yogurt was a health food. I hope that time has passed, because with go-gurt’s high sugar content, it should be considered a desert – not a healthy snack.
7. Most Granola Bars
Lots of granola bars (like Chewy bars) are marketed as whole grain healthy snacks, but in reality, they are just a concoction of sugar, refined carbohydrates and preservatives.
8. Lunch Meats
Lunch meats may be convenient, but some studies are linking highly processed meats to cancer, heart disease and premature death. Not the type of stuff I’d want to be sending my kid to school with.
9. Processed Cakes
Twinkies, Ho-ho’s and Hostess cupcakes. These are the go-to snack for kids’ lunches, but I want to challenge you to find an alternative. You know these highly processed foods aren’t good for your child. If you really want to treat them, find a freshly made pastry and pack it in their lunch for a treat once in a while, not daily. Opt for blueberries or other dark berries to get their sweet fix in.
Most crackers are made up of bleached flour and other preservatives. Yes, they contain calories, but there really isn’t many nutrients there otherwise.
Any and all soda is not something a child should be consuming. The high sugar and acid content is too harsh on the body to be giving a growing child. And research is now showing that soda is not only linked to certain diseases, but directly impacts the health of your brain, mood, digestion and skin!
Candy can be a treat for a child, but with the high sugar content, it’s a guaranteed way to make your kid super hyper and then super tired shortly after. Neither of those things are ideal for a school environment.
A lot of parents throw chips in their kid’s lunch as a filler and because hey, who doesn’t like chips? But – I want to urge you to opt for popcorn or a bean/sweet potato chip if you want to treat them to something salty.
14. White Bread
Wonder bread has been a staple in lunches for years, but there really isn’t much nutritional value there. If you are going to pack your child a PB and J, make it on Ezekiel bread or another healthier bread instead.
15. Gold Fish
Despite being considered a healthy snack by most, these crackers are far from it. They contain a triple threat that should keep you from ever giving these to your child again – artificial dyes, GMOs and highly processed wheat.
16. Store Bought Cookies
I am all for treating your kid to some fresh or homemade cookies from time to time, but it’s the highly processed cookies with extreme sugar content you need to look out for. Chips Ahoy, Oreos, you know the deal. Stop packing those cookies in your kid’s lunch.
17. Fake Fruit Snacks
Although fruit snacks may be shaped like fruit, they are far from healthy. They are mostly made up of sugar, artificial dyes and other unknown chemicals.
Ramen contains a preservative called Tertiary-butylhydroquinone that is common in cheap processed foods that has been linked to heart disease.
19. Energy Drinks
This one goes without saying, but I had to put it on here. Lots of caffeine, lots of sugar, lots of reasons not to let your child drink them.
Every kid loves pudding. I don’t know what it is about pudding, but it’s the go-to snack for every kid ages 3 and – let’s face it, we all still like pudding. Instead of giving your kid the store bought pudding full of preservatives and sugar, try making this recipe and sending it off in his/her lunch instead.
Life can be hectic and sometimes, your goal needs to be simply getting your kid fed. This list of foods should be used as a way to empower your decisions. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being informed.
If you have read any horror stories about other unhealthy foods people are usually feeding their children, please give us the heads up by putting the food below in the comments!
Brandon Epstein is a former college football player, turned professional fitness model and serial entrepreneur. These days he spends his time helping people look great and feel awesome over at ZenDudeFitness.com. He can also be found hosting the Zen Dude Fitness Podcast where he’s always looking for new ways to make fat loss fun, simple and efficient for everybody.
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