Monday, February 9, 2015

Seven Foods You Should Never Feed Your Kids

I am a firm believer in moderation when it comes to eating. In our house, there are no foods that are completely off-limits. There are, however, many foods that are reserved for special occasions, and even more foods reserved for "once in a blue moon" occasions. Based on my personal experiences of raising a family, I know how hard it can be to keep your kids away from junk food.

Between the birthday parties and holidays that are celebrated with sugar and fat and the free desserts that comes with every restaurant kids' meal, it can feel like an ongoing battle; some days are better than others. As I continue to fight the good fight, I would like to share some food-like products that I've discovered are the worst for developing bodies and brains.

Microwave Popcorn.

I bet some of you have never heard of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. PFOA is a chemical used to line the bags of microwave popcorn so that the bags don't catch on fire. According to studies, PFOA has been linked to cancer, postponed puberty and is associated with thyroid disease and high cholesterol in kids.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG).

MSG is a flavor enhancer that is most commonly thought of as an additive in Chinese food, but the fact is that it’s also used in many processed foods. According to Discovery Health: “MSG has been labeled an excitotoxin because it is thought to have the ability to overstimulate cells to death. Many people link headaches, flushing, poor attention and other symptoms, as well as diseases like fibromyalgia, to MSG intake.”

Trans Fat.

Trans fat is created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. Significantly, numerous studies have suggested that trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and possibly Type-2 diabetes. Trans fats not only raise bad LDL cholesterol, they lower good HDL cholesterol. Top trans fats include any foods that are battered and fried, cake mixes and frostings, cookies, pancake- and waffle-mixes, and microwave popcorn.

Luncheon Meats.

These are the meats that you buy packaged at the grocery store.  Luncheon meats contain tons of sodium as well as the chemical sodium nitrite.These foods have also been found to increase a kid's risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. If your kids love lunch meats, opt for preservative-free varieties whenever possible. Or make your own by thinly slicing chicken, ham or turkey at home.

Sugary Cereals.

The aisle with the sugary cereals aisle is more appealing to kids than any other part of a grocery store. Covered in colorful packaging and plastered with words like “whole grain” or “great source of Vitamin D” the children’s cereals seem to promote health. However, one serving of cereals, such as Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp or General Mills Wheaties Fuel contains more sugar than the 18 grams packed into a Twinkie. I suggest adding more protein to a cereal breakfast with a hard-boiled egg, and eating whole fruits instead of juice, juice can be loaded with sugar and lacks the fiber that fruit possesses.

Food Dye.

Research supporting the link between ADHD and other behavioral issues in kids, and foods containing chemical dyes. These are heavy-duty petrochemicals that are now being proven to have a significant effect on the developing brains of our kids. Depression, anxiety and learning disorders in children are just a few of the things that are now being traced back to food dyes.

Regular soda is bad enough because of the astronomical sugar content, but when you combine caffeine and aspartame as manufacturers do in diet soda, and something evil happens. If your kids are exercising heavily on a hot day, there really is no need for them to drink sports drinks or diet soda. For a great post-soccer game recovery drink, try water or chocolate milk — this milk has the perfect blend of carbs and protein to help little bodies repair and replenish. Aspartame is as excitotoxin that causes brain cells to get hyper-stimulated and then die. Please don’t let your kids drink diet soda or sports drinks.

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