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5 Snacks to Stop Feeding Your Kids!
After writing the list for the top five summer snacks that are healthy, I got to thinking. What are some of the unhealthiest snack options for kids out there? Since we already know that cookies, chips, and soda are not healthy for our kids, what about the less notorious items? Here is an impromptu list of the Top 5 foods or snacks you should STOP feeding your child now! Here’s why:
1. Yogurts – This one has proven to be a jaw-dropper every time! What, no yogurt for my kid(s)? Why? How will they get their calcium, probiotics, and other “healthy” things yogurt contains? This is an easy answer – because so many of the popular yogurts marketed to kids are LOADED with sugar, they are automatically a no-no in this mama’s house! There is healthier yogurt, like plain, and greek plain, but my kids don’t like to eat them just by themselves. (Go figure, after years of high-sugar intake, their little taste buds and ideas of “good” foods are a little off!) So we add a small amount of agave or honey (or Truvia) and put it in the blender with berries for a quick smoothie, or get our calcium and probitoics elsewhere. I buy the once-daily pediatric probiotic powder (Nature’s Way – Primadophilus Children) for the live cultures, and found that the unsweetened, Non-Gmo soy milk I give my kids (Silk brand) has just as much calcium, protein, and potassium as dairy milk (or yogurt) but without all the sugar! Win-win in our kitchen.
2. Lunchables – Whoa, now I’ve gone too far! This one was tough eliminating at first, (think time saver!) but after poring over the labels on these expensive doo-hickeys, I quickly saw that they are so unhealthy for my little ones. Loaded with sugar, sodium, bad fats and preservatives, I have instead turned to making homemade mini -lunches instead. An all-natural cheese stick, with some pepperonis, and a few whole-wheat Townhouse crackers, and my kiddos are lovin’ it! Good for their taste buds, good for their bodies.
3. Juice – This one can also put the shock on moms, as you think, it’s from fruit – healthy, right? Fruit juice is one of the WORST things you can feed your child, just because most of them are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Much better to just eat the fruit! Let’s do a quick sugar tally: OJ in the morning with breakfast (8 oz.), 20-28 grams sugar. Apple juice (“No added sugar” on label!) with lunch (8 oz. serving) 28 grams of sugar. Caprisun after school (regular), 17 grams sugar. By the end of the day, that’s 66-74 grams of sugar – just in JUICE! Kids should ideally not be drinking/eating more than 20 grams of non-natural or added sugar daily! Wow, what a revelation. Try this instead: Light OJ (Minute Maid’s is really tasty) – only 10 grams of sugar, no aspartame. Water apple juice down in half or two-thirds. Try Caprisun’s “Roarin’ Waters” line – the sugar content is brought to 8-9 grams of sugar per pouch – much better!
4. Fruit snacks – My dental hygienist friend warned me a long time ago about these babies – nothing but cavity makers! The 15 grams of sugar in one little bag (usually about 8 or so pieces!) is the culprit, and the lack of anything nutritious in them gives them my “wrong choice” vote. My solution: make REAL fruit fun again! We freeze grapes for a fun, cool crunch. Sometimes, we dice watermelon, apples, pears, and pineapple – then squirt a little whipped topping on for added fun. Or, blend some banana and berries into a smoothie, then freeze in small cups with a popsicle stick for a healthy, naturally sweetened ice pop! Craft project and nutritious snack in one!
5. Cereal – So many reasons why this one is NO good! So many cereals out there have way too much sugar (11 grams and up per ¾ cup serving) and nothing nutritious in them. Once you add cow’s milk (regular milk), you’ve got a bowl full of sugar, preservatives, and other toxins in front of your child – OUCH! Better to give the kiddies this: Fiber One cereal (loaded with fiber and NOT loaded with sugars) with soy or almond milk. Now you’ve got a good choice, and the kids get their crunchies on!
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