Five foods you shouldn’t be feeding your children
With new studies being released every day, it can be confusing knowing what you should or shouldn’t be feeding your children. We have rounded up five of the worst offenders to steer clear of.
Do these studies and research help us or are they too intrusive and we should be allowed to do and eat what we like?
1) Fizzy drinks
We all know that fizzy drinks aren’t good for us, yet research shows that a significant number of children are still regularly consuming them. Each bottle contains a huge amount of sugar and calories, as well as potentially harmful flavourings and additives.
Fizzy drinks aren’t healthy for anybody but can be especially damaging to young children. Children don’t need a huge amount of calories in their diets anyway and certainly don’t need the extra energy that sugar will give them. Consumption of fizzy drinks can lead to obesity and type two diabetes, and also cause aggressive behaviour.
2) Cereal bars
Cereal and snack bars can be confusing. They are often marketed to appear as healthy options when, in reality, they are crammed full of sugar and boast an alarmingly long lists of ingredients. They can contain very little protein or fibre and few valuable nutrients or vitamins.
This isn’t to say that all snack bars should be tarred with the same brush though. Just make sure to read the labels and stick to ones containing short lists of natural ingredients. If in doubt, making your own can be a great alternative and prove cost effective too.
I find this quite surprising as I often reach for a cereal bar on a busy day.
3) Anything bubblegum flavoured
That childhood favourite “bubblegum flavour” is actually a huge nutritional no-go. The lurid blue shade of these foods is a sure indicator that something unnatural is going on. There is really no need to dye any food an unnatural colour – except to hide something.
The UK has recently banned the use of some food dyes but you still need to be vigilant. Aside from the dangers of the dyes themselves, foods which use them tend to be heavily processed and full of sugar, fat and sodium too.
4) Fruit juice
Although fresh fruit juice is a more natural option than fizzy drinks, it still contains scarily high quantities of sugar. Consuming too much fruit juice can lead to weight gain, due to the excess calories, and also play a big part in tooth decay.
This isn’t to say that your children should never have a glass of orange juice, it just shouldn’t be their staple source of hydration. For a healthier option, choose water or milk and feed your children whole fruit if they still want a fruity fix, which contains much lower concentrated sugar levels.
5) Hot dogs
Feeding your children processed meats like hot dogs could be causing serious harm. Hot dogs are known for their high levels of nitrates which have been linked to increased risk of colon cancer in young children. Nitrates do occur naturally in some foods, such as spinach, beetroot and celery, but these vegetables also contain vitamin C which naturally limits the effect of the nitrates. Processed hot dogs, on the other hand, do not contain these counteracting vitamins.
Try using real sausages made from quality meat for your children’s hot dogs instead.