As parents, our main goal is to raise happy, healthy kids, right? From scheduling wellness visits, on a yearly basis, to limiting screen time, there are so many boxes on our checklist to ensure we follow to provide the best possible upbringing we can. The main way to keep children’s health in line is by being mindful of what they consume. Stay away from any fake health foods. Since the upswing of eating “healthier” organic foods is on the rise, companies are aiming to create “healthy” foods to market to families. The question is then, “what foods are actually healthy for my child?”
March is National Nutrition Month, so we thought it was a great idea to share a list of foods, marketed as healthy, to add to your list of hands-off foods.
Fake Healthy Foods
- Fat-Free Snacks: The fat that is lacking is replaced with so much sugar our teeth hurt just thinking about it.
- Energy Bars: These are packed with sugar and processed ingredients.
- Fruit Snacks: The top ingredients in most fruit snacks are corn syrup and sugar, not fruit; opt for real fruit instead.
- Flavored Yogurt: Yogurt is thought to be one of the best foods for your body; loaded with probiotic goodness. Flavored varieties usually contain high amounts of sugar and artificial flavors. Avoid the flavored varieties and go for plain Greek yogurt. To add a bit of flavor consider adding a pinch of cinnamon or drizzle of honey.
- Fruit Juice: All types of juices are usually filled with sugar. Fruit loses some of its nutritional value when juiced. Go for the real fruit option in this case too.
- Dried Fruit: Aim for the no-sugar-added varieties which can be healthy and fiber-rich. Ones normally sold in grocery stores are filled with sugar and unnecessary preservatives.
- Trail Mix: Most trail mixes are filled with sugary chocolate pieces and artificial colors and preservatives.
- Fruit Smoothies: Pre-made smoothies sold in your grocery store are loaded with sugar (some holding over 50g per serving!). Make smoothies at home using fresh fruits, plain yogurt and/or almond milk.
- Veggie Chips: A chip made from vegetables sounds healthy, right? Wrong. The fiber you would normally get from fresh veggies is depleted and the chips are filled with sodium, starch, artificial colors, and flavors.
- Muffins: Often thought of a healthy alternative to the doughnut, these are marketed to the health-conscious individual. Paired with phrases such as, “whole wheat,” “gluten-free” or “low fat” they are prepared with refined sugars and loads of butter.
The easiest advice to follow, when thinking about healthy foods to nourish your growing children, is to stick as close to nature as possible. Avoid processed versions or foods marked as “low fat” or “natural”. Fill plates with healthy fruits and veggies, complex carbs and a fair amount of protein to maintain a healthy diet and weight.