Are these food items really healthy for my child?

Are These Food Items


From fruit juices to so-called nutritious snacks, many food products that proclaim to be healthy are anything but nutritious. Even food products that promise to be fat free or gluten free may contain hidden chemicals and other ingredients that are anything but good for us. To help parents and caregivers know what foods are good for their kids, check out this list of nine food items to avoid on your next trip to the grocery store.

Veggie Puffs
You might think just because something is made from vegetables, that it is good for you. But veggie puffs are mostly made of refined grains such as corn flour, soy flour and rice. The vegetables in these puffs are mostly in powder form, providing far less vitamins and fiber than a normal serving of vegetables.

Children’s Yogurt
Yogurt can be a healthy choice for a child because it contains calcium and immune-supporting probiotics, but only if it’s the low-fat plain variety. Be sure and stay away from yogurts that are marketed for children because they often contain tons of sugar, artificial flavors and some even have artificial food dyes.

Fruit Snacks
Don’t be tricked by the word “fruit” when it comes to the snack aisle. Many so-called fruit snacks like roll-ups or gummies are loaded with sugar, concentrated fruit juice (which is really just sugar) and corn syrup. They may also contain artificial flavoring and food coloring. If your child likes fruit, stick with the real items from the produce department.

Packaged Turkey
Most kids love a turkey sandwich, and turkey can be an excellent source of lean protein. But the prepackaged variety is often loaded with sodium, preservatives and nitrates to extend shelf life. Even a one, 2-ounce serving can contain nearly one third of the maximum daily recommendation of sodium. If your child is a turkey fan, be sure and buy the low-sodium variety or even fresh turkey slices from the deli.

Granola is one of those items that certainly sounds healthy, especially because the ingredient list can contain rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds. However, many granola products contain sugar, honey and molasses—and when added with other ingredients like coconut, chocolate, and roasted almonds, some commercial brands contain as much as 25 grams of fat per serving.

Cereal Bars
Cereal bars seem like a great fast meal as your child heads out the door but you might want to consider that many brands contain tons of sugar, hydrogenated oil (which contains trans-fat), artificial color and flavoring.

If you’ve been fooled by the so-called health benefits of juice, don’t be alarmed because many parents and caregivers have made the same mistake. Because of the amount of natural sugars in fruit juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting juice for children (to 6 to 8 ounces a day for children up to the age of 6 and to 8 to 12 ounces for children ages 7 and older). Also, keep in mind that many juice cocktails that are marketed to children have added sugars beyond the natural sugar of the fruit juice itself.

Sports Drinks
Sports drinks can be an effective source of rehydration for kids who have been exercising for long periods of time. But many brands are known to be some of the most sugar-sweetened beverages around. Be sure and check the ingredient labels and choose a sports drink that is low in sugar and free of artificial food colorings.

Graham Crackers
Many adults grew up on the little crunchy wafers known as graham crackers. But although they provide a tasty treat, they don’t provide much nutritional value nor fiber. Instead of serving your child graham crackers, consider a whole grain cracker with cheese.

For tips on healthy eating visit ABC Quality Nutrition.

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Visit to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.

By ABC Quality Team at 2 Apr 2019, 11:00 AM