As a parent you want to do what is best for your child. You're the world's worst mom if you feed your kids these foods. Here is a list of foods that aren’t the healthiest option and should be consumed in moderation, if consumed at all.
Breakfast Cereals - Cereals are full of sugars and empty calories, even those cereals marked as “whole grain.” Avoid cereals that have sugar, or any other version of sugar, as one of the first ingredients. If buying cereal, look for cereals with 3 or more grams of protein and fiber.
Hot Dogs - Foods that are highly processed, such as hot dogs and bologna, contain nitrites which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Consumption of red and processed meats is also linked with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Hot dogs are hight in sodium and saturated fat. Often more sodium and fat is added with condiments and a white bun.
Chicken Nuggets - Chicken nuggets or chicken fingers are very popular on children’s menus. Most chicken nuggets from popular fast food restaurants contains 20 or more ingredients and are fried in oil. Chicken nuggets and strips can be made healthier at home by coating a chicken breast in egg and whole grain breadcrumbs and then baked instead of fried.
Fruit Snacks - Fruit snacks are often full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and preservatives. They are sweetened with fruit juice and often contain no real fruit. Fruit snacks are often no better than gummy candies on a nutritional level. Fruit snacks and gummy candies can also cause dental problems from sticking to children's teeth.
Sugary Drinks - It’s not just soda that is full of sugar! Fruit punch, juices and sports drinks contain large amounts of sugar and empty calories. Juice boxes lack fiber and vitamins because they don’t contain any real fruit juice.
Packaged Lunches - Packaged lunches and snacks containing deli meat, cheese and crackers are full of sodium, unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates. Add in the dessert and drink that is often included, this easy and convenient snack becomes even more unhealthy.
Toaster Pastries and Strudels - These breakfast foods are filled with sugar-sweetened jelly and often come with icing and sprinkles. Some common brands of toaster pastries and strudels contain more than 50 ingredients. Also be aware of the serving size. It is often not the whole pouch but only one pastry that equals one serving.
Pasta - Packaged pasta, such as macaroni and cheese, canned spaghetti and ramen noodles, are loaded with sodium. One serving of these foods has more sodium than a child needs through out the entire day. White noodles lack fiber and essential nutrients. Wheat pasta is the best option for everyone.
Some of these foods may be your child's favorite or you keep them around the house because it is easy and convenient. They aren’t the healthiest of options but remember it’s okay in moderation. Feed your child healthier alternatives for meals and snacks but an occasional soda won’t be the end of the world.