Happiest Mother’s Day, moms! In honor of the theme of today, which is being a momma, I feel there is some clarification needed in society on what is “healthy” when it comes to feeding our kiddos. Nearly every single TV commercial I see that is marketing something “healthy for kids” is really NOT HEALTHY at all. I’d like to give you some insight.
Here are some of the most irritating items marketed toward the feeding of our littles (in no particular order except how they popped into my mind):
- Choosy moms would NOT choose JIF peanut butter (if they read the ingredients).
- Many/most popular peanut butter brands have far more than just peanuts in their peanut butter. You’ll often find Crisco (partially hydrogenated oil) and a bunch of sugar, among others (NOT GOOD if you’re wondering).
- Good quality peanut butter has two ingredients: peanuts and salt. It comes in generic versions and brand names.
- You may have to stir it a little, but I’m sure you can handle that. After you stir it up, it won’t separate again if you keep it in the fridge. And, it tastes AMAZING without all the added crap.
- Fruit snacks do not count as nourishing. Stop it.
- Fruit snacks are no different or better than feeding your kids candy throughout all hours of the day. Yes, I know you can buy 700 of them for cheap at Costco; but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
- Even as an adult, those little things are addicting. That is not a joke. They seriously are addicting, as are many fake-food-mostly-sugar products.
- Fruit snacks contain not only added sugar and zero nutrients (until they throw in a shot of vitamin C…whoopidydoo…), but also petroleum-based artificial food dyes. (NOT GOOD if you’re wondering).
- I know they are convenient and all; but convenient doesn’t beat out the nasty consequences of eating fake foods often found much later in life.
- Furthermore, they are the opposite of satisfying (for adults or kids) because of their fake-ness; therefore, those eating them will often end up MORE hungry than they were before they ate them.
- Goldfish crackers do not satisfy the quota of “eat fish twice a week” that dietitians recommend.
- Goldfish crackers are made of processed, refined carbohydrates, fake cheese flavor, and zero fiber or real nutrients (besides those that were added to the flour after it was stripped of anything nourishing).
- There are some other versions of Goldfish crackers that at least make an attempt to not put so much fake junk in there and an attempt to use at least a bit of 100% whole grain flour in the production.
- Juice is not healthy. Yes, you can reread it but it remains a fact. Be mad if you want; argue if you want; but that fact doesn’t change.
- I do not recommend juice for anyone. Juice is a processed form of a fruit. Juice does not make us full, so we can consume it nearly endlessly to quench our thirst, all the while spiking our blood sugar to the moon all. day. long.
- I’ve heard all the arguments, such as “but my juice is fresh-squeezed” or “there is no added sugar” or “mine has lots of pulp.” Those arguments don’t change the fact that you (and the kiddos) should be drinking water as a main beverage, and eating whole fruits. What kids do early in life in terms of habits are what they will typically do as adults. Teach them now to love healthy foods.
- If you can absolutely not imagine life without juice, I strongly recommend to limit consumption to no more than 1 cup (8 ounces) in an entire day, and even less for kids.
- Never ever ever ever drink sugary beverages, including juice, to quench thirst. If you must have them, have them because you simply enjoy the taste rather than thirst. If you drink juice to quench thirst, your health will suffer over time.
- Hot dogs are not food. I know they are convenient and cheap, but they are not nourishing your kids in any way except filling up the precious real estate in their bellies that is supposed to be filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, protein and things to build healthy bodies and brains.
- Hot dogs contain everything from nostrils to hooves. If you are disgusted by that, you should be! Seriously! Bologna is about the same, just flatter.
- I’ve also heard the argument “but mine are organic” or “these are 100% beef.” Well, I still don’t love the idea of organic eyeballs or cow buttholes any more than the alternatives…so? Really?
- Nutella is cake frosting. Seriously, it is just like cracking open a can of cake frosting and spreading it on your kid’s toast in the morning.
- I can’t stress enough for you to read ingredients. You will really open your eyes to the value (or lack thereof) of your food. The calories, fat, sodium…none of that matters at all if you are eating fake, sugary food!
- The main ingredient in Nutella is SUGAR, not hazelnuts. There are other versions of similar product who actually make hazelnuts more of the focus, and reduce the sugar substantially. You’ll often find them in the same section as Nutella.
Ok, so, if you are wondering what exactly you could use in place of many of these foods, I hope I can convince you to think outside the box. I’ve written some meal planning posts, snack ideas, breakfast ideas, etc. that I hope will help guide you. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive (I wrote about that already too).
Your children’s genetic expression, regardless of family history, is influenced by their lifestyle from birth. What you feed them controls their health future in a sense. You’ll hear far more about the concept of nutrigenetics in future years…but I can assure you that what those little people eat from infancy to adulthood can influence the functioning of their bodies substantially. We should be proactive in preventing diseases and illnesses, not reactive (as in waiting until we have something wrong to finally start changing our habits to be healthier).
If you teach your kids to love water, they will be adults that love water. If you teach your kids to make vegetables a significant part of every meal, they will be adults who continue that practice. If you teach your kids to only drink sugary beverages (including juice) and that chicken nuggets can be consumed daily, they will be adults with a limited palate and a list of chronic health conditions when they are 50 years old. (It’s starting earlier…little tiny kids are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at an alarming rate!) Please do not make these kids have to relearn how to take care of their bodies as adults, because the damage will have already begun.
If you absolutely must buy convenience foods, read the ingredients! You can find frozen fish nuggets/sticks that don’t have 8,000 ingredients (i.e. aren’t full of artificial crap). You can find boxed mac and cheese that uses 100% whole grains and non-fake ingredients.
We are all a victim of marketing to some extent. We’ve all seen the Kellogg’s breakfast commercials where the kid had a HUGE glass of OJ, a HUGE bowl of cereal, some fruit, some toast, and a grand total of way too much to eat. But we learn from that. We learn from the commercials for Pediasure that somehow drinking a bottle of corn-syrup-flavored synthetic vitamins is miraculously going to be better than feeding our kids real food (NOT). Remember, the people who write those commercials and ads in magazines are paid very well to sway you into buying their products, whether right or wrong. I am not paid at all to teach you here with professional guidance. Not one cent. Remember that. My only vested interest in teaching you the right way to live is that I believe so strongly in the evidence to do so.
I’m not saying I’m some kind of whip-cracker at my house either. My kids have had juice, albeit on special occasions like 2-3 times a year. My kids sometimes have cookies, or candy, fruit snacks or whatever junk food. The key is making those things special, infrequent treats. When something is done daily, it is routine. Don’t make it hard; it isn’t.
Email me for more insight or clarification if you want 🙂
xoxo – Casey