5 Processed Kids Snacks You Should Avoid
Remember that there is no such a thing as kid food, only marketing and packaging. The closer to nature, the better your kids will be. Stay away from processed foods, make your own snacks and choose real foods made with fresh ingredients.
Unfortunately, food companies market unhealthy products directly towards children. Cartoon characters and colorful boxes attract kids into buying extremely unhealthy foods loaded with sugars, refined wheat, and artificial colors, linked to all sorts of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes and hyperactivity/ADHD.
Kids are eating more processed foods than ever before. Did you know that today, by the time the average child in a developed country turns 8 years old, they’ve had more sugar in their lives than the average person did in their entire lifetime just one century ago? Processed food are loaded with sugar! We need to inform ourselves and start making better choices. If you want fun and creative snack options, check out my Creative And Healthy Snack Ideas post.
Below, we will advise you on 5 processed kids snacks you should try to avoid. These products should never be in your grocery shopping list. What you have available at home is what your kids will eat, so keep your home full of healthy food options and make your own snacks.
5 Processed Kids Snacks You Should Avoid Plus DIY Healthier Alternatives
Sugary Cereals – The worst cereals are sadly geared towards children. The information on the package is also deceiving. Uninformed consumers just look at the box and read: “good source of whole grains” or “made with real fruit”. So they go ahead and buy them, thinking they are giving their children something healthy.
Popular brands like Froot Loops, Captain Crunch, and Apple Jacks are 40 to 50% sugar by weight. This is just insane! These cereals should be treated as candy.
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Look at the ingredient’s list: if you see corn syrup, high fructose or other types of sugar in the top three ingredients, then you know it is not a healthy option. Remember that the ingredient list on a food label is the listing of each ingredient in descending order of predominance. The ingredients used in the greatest amounts first followed by those in smaller amounts.
Look for healthier options: the first ingredient should be whole grains, and anything under 5 grams of sugar per serving would be a good choice. Check out these two fun and healthy alternatives: Teddy Bear Toasts and Healthy Banana Sushi.
Fruit snacks – Another popular and deceiving product for kids. The packaging of fruit snacks gives the impression that they are in some way healthy. “Fat Free” and “Made with real fruit”. Yes, sugar is “fat free” but that doesn’t mean it is healthy. What they don’t tell you is your body will process sugar and convert into fat. So that “fat free” label is completely misleading.
Fruit snacks are gelatinous sugar globs with only small amounts of fruit juice and vitamin C or calcium. This shouldn’t be the way our kids get vitamins or minerals anyway. If you just want to give it to your child occasionally please understand: this is candy, not a healthy snack. Just look at the ingredients:
All I see is artificial colors, artificial flavors, corn syrup and sugar. The long list of ingredients indicates this products is nothing but artificial. Again, sugar in the top three ingredients. If you want to give your children a healthy fruit snack, please take a look at this Homemade Healthy Gummies recipe.
Sweetened drinks – A popular snack for kids you see on supermarket shelves. Boxed juices and pouches are everywhere. It is funny how some parents will not give soda to their kids but, instead, will buy them sweetened drinks like Kool-Aid and Capri Sun. These fruit drinks are just as bad as soda. If they’re not made from 100-percent juice, they’re the nutritional equivalent of soda without the bubbles. Most popular brands are also made with high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, just like sodas.
What to look for instead? Healthier fruit juices made with 100% juice, and make sure they are not from concentrate. You can also make your own smoothies! Please see my Green Smoothie or Cherry Banana Spinach Smoothie recipes for more natural alternatives. Remember, the healthiest choice should be water!
Ice pops – Kids are attracted by the neon colors, shapes and cartoons on these store-bought ice pops. Some boxes will say these ice pops are made with real fruit and are fat free. The reality is they are full of artificial dyes, sugars and in some cases, even artificial sweeteners! Have you seen your kids’ tongue after eating one of those store-bought ice pops? Surely, it is not something healthy for them.
If you want to give your kids real fruit ice pops, then you should take a look at my Great Snack Idea: Ice Pops. I started by making them with fruits only, but now I add vegetables like beets, spinach, cucumbers and carrots. My son loves them and they are great for picky eaters. Using fun molds helps get them even more excited, and you feel good about giving your kids a healthy snack. There are so many ways to get your kids to eat their veggies – you just need a little imagination!
Ice Pops are also great when a child has a cold. Dairy, sugar free and full of nutrients to fight viruses and infections! It can soothe a sore throat and help with coughing by adding raw honey. It can also help with reflux if you add some Aloe Vera or Ginger. Don’t forget to add your superfoods, like a tablespoon of chia seeds for added protein and health benefits.
Crackers – As a mother, you are always looking for snacks you can take when you are out with your kids. Crackers are very popular but most commercial crackers are made with GMOs, are very high in sodium and low in fiber. They have no nutritional value and are full of preservatives, sugars, artificial colors and flavors.
A healthier choice? Try Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers. Made with only 4 ingredients! You can make a big batch and store them in a cookie jar and enjoy them while they last. You can use fun cutters in different shapes and sizes. Homemade crackers are very easy to make and so much better for your kids.
Healthy eating habits start at home. Remember snacks are not treats, they are mini meals. Teach your kids to make better choices and they will make good choices in the future. Stay away from processed foods and limit treats to once or twice a week. Homemade foods are always the best choice.
Originally published on Creativeandhealthyfunfood.com and republished with permission.
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Most of my recipes are very easy to prepare.I believe in cooking with fresh ingredients and try to avoid cans and boxes as much as possible.Not all the recipes, smoothies, fun food ideas and/or snacks are my own creations but ones I’ve found and share.
The purpose of my blog is to give fun ideas for healthy meals the entire family can enjoy.I believe that kids should eat the same food as adults. Creating these early food habits will teach kids to not only eat better and more variety of food, but also to share and enjoy time with the entire family.
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