1. Chicken Nuggets: These foods appear in the listof kids' favorites. To prepare chicken nuggets, a definite shape is given to the grounded pieces of chicken meat and skin. Salt and high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are added to add flavor, followed by frying it in hydrogenated oilcontaining high amounts of trans fat. And you relish each bite with a tinge of high-fat mayonnaise based sauce! No doubt, the food is tasty, but its nutritive value is practically zero with loads of calories and fat. Instead prepare grilled chicken breast at home and make funnyshapes with the help of cookie cutters to motivate your children to eat homemade delicacies.
2. Sugary Cereal: Some kids desperately crave for sugary cereals. Cereals with marshmallows seem to be one of their favorite choices. Some cereals come with chemical preservatives, hydrogenated oils and artificial colors. Whole wheat cereals are the best options for your child's breakfast. You can make it more delicious by adding nuts, raisins, berries and slices of bananas.
3. Lunch Meat and Hot Dogs: There is no doubt that kids have a liking for hot dogs, bologna and other processed meats. But these meats are filled with cancer-causing nitrates and nitrites, artificial colors and fillers, saturated fat and sodium. A Los Angeles study concluded that the children who ate 12 hot dogs per month were at a greater risk of developing leukemia. The prepackaged lunches consisting of processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils, contain up to 38 gram of fat! And these serve as ready meals for a child during the lunch hour! Unprocessed meats like lean chicken, tuna or turkey breast are healthier options. For sandwiches, use whole-wheat breads and whole-grain, low fat crackers. And yes, tasty veggie dogs have also hit the market.
4. Juice and Flavored Drinks: In juice, the calories come from sugar and carbohydrates . But it lacks fiber as you would find in whole fruits! Excessive consumption of juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay in children. As per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8 to 12 ounces (around 235 ml to 350 ml) of juice is the perfect measurement for children over 6 years. It is best to prepare juice with seasonal fruits at home. Tell your kids about the importance of hydration and encourage them to carry a water-bottle in theirbackpacks. If your child dislikes the idea of having plain water, then you can add a splash of fruit juice in it to add a little flavor! Low fat milk, a source of calcium , protein and Vitamin A , is another healthy beverage choice for kids.
5. French Fries: This is a popular snack among the children. These foods have high-fat, high-calorie and high-sodium content, and these are fried using hydrogenated oils containing trans fat. Additionally, studies have shown that the heating of starchy foods like potatoes in extreme temperatures creates a carcinogen called acrylamide. You can choose to give your child baby carrots and celery sticks instead of french fries. Baked slices of potato with a dash of olive oil are also a healthy option.
6. Potato Chips: These are high in saturated fat and sodium. Some chips are also associated with the issue of the formation of acrylamide. Some low-fat chips are there, but these also consist of olestra (a fat substitute that adds no fat, calories, or cholesterol to products, but maylead to nutritional deficiencies of some vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K) or other fake fats which can cause harm to your kid's health. Instead you can use cut-up vegetables, pop corns and baked chips as snackoptions for your kids.
7. Fruit Leather: Fruit-bites and roll-ups are gelatinous snacks which contain high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial colors. Consumers are often misled by the word"fruit" mentioned in the packets! Your child might not like the idea of having fruits in their original states, and so you can offer him a frozen treat with grapes. Add unflavored gelatin to fruit juices and pieces. This way your child can enjoy the gelatin treats without the added sugar and color.
8. Doughnuts: These treats bring joy to both children and adults, but these foods have low nutritive value. These foods are fatty, sugary and have high amounts of trans-fatty acids. What seems to be more surprising is that these foods are presented as acceptable breakfast options for a child! You need to position doughnuts as desserts in your kid's mind. And desserts are not eaten at breakfast! It is true that your child would not like the idea of having whole-wheat toast with a sugar-free fruit spread, but you need to exercise tight control in this case.
9. Pizza: This forms a better option if taken in moderation. But toppings like pepperoni and sausage come with carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites. Excess amount of cheese would also add extra calories! Prepare a whole-wheat pizza at home. Add some HFCS-free sauce, diced chicken breast, vegetables and sliced turkey dogs. Add little amount of cheese and then bake.
When you encourage your child to eat healthy, you should set an example! Remember, your child is observing each and every activity of yours! So when you lead a healthy lifestyle, your children would learn to do so. Further, whenever you would be preparing healthy meals, involve your children as well. When they would give their suggestions, the chances of food rejections would be minimized.