Top 12 Most Unhealthy Foods For Kids

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

unhealthy foods for kids

The lady of the house is the first person to adopt food trends such as low fat, baked or vegan and the entire family follows it. Fat free foods, zero calorie juices and coke, skimmed milk, baked items and confectionery – all are attractive buys, but are these really nutritious for your child or just unhealthy foods for kids?

As you happily arrange the food items shipped from the supermarket, are you sure you have purchased healthy foodstuffs for your child and the family? Are you sure none of them may pose a potential health hazard for your little one? Read below to find the disguised food items which are actually unhealthy foods for kids.

In This Article

Top 12 Unhealthy Foods For Kids

Your child may be demanding the typical junk food that he relishes, but it’s up to you to decide if this unhealthy foods for kids needs to be given to them or not. Here is a list of junk foods that you must avoid!

1. Potato Chips and French Fries

french fries unhealthy food

French fries are a very popular food among children and even adults like to snack on it. Caution! It is deep fried. The same goes for potato chips. Even though baked varieties are being promoted, they are still high in trans-fat and salt. Such high quantities of saturated fats increase bad cholesterol and increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders and osteoporosis. In addition to this, Acrylamide, a cancer-causing toxin forms in such starchy foods which are cooked at high temperature.

2. Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk

Many parents feed their kids chocolate milk or chocolate milk shakes so as to disguise milk. However, chocolate milk only makes the kids vouch and reach out for chocolate, milk never gets a favor here.

3. Sausages and Hot Dogs

The smooth, slippery texture aided by oil or sauce raises a red flag due to potential choking hazard in children below 10 years of age. In February 2010, American Academy of Pediatrics specially mentioned hot dogs as one of the leading unhealthy foods related to fatal choking. Apart from the risk of choking, they are fried/grilled, contain preservatives and do not provide any nutrition.

[Read : What To Do When Your Child Is Choking]

4. Doughnuts and Other Fried Sweets

Doughnuts -unhealthy food
Double chocolate glazed doughnuts, cream doughnuts or jalebis these contain high amounts of sugar and artificial flavors. Such unhealthy food additives are used to enhance flavor, add color, as preservative or as artificial sweeteners. MSG or mono-sodium glutamate is already banned by most food authorities. Other food additives contain chemicals causing headache, obesity, tissue damage and cancer. If your kid has a sweet craving, make fruit chaat, fruit bun or fruit cream using yogurt.

5. Uncooked Eggs and Meat

Half-boiled egg is an easy snack to keep kids engaged. However, it is to be noted that uncooked eggs and meat contain salmonella bacteria. Although it is not harmful in itself, the condition becomes serious when the bacteria enters the bloodstream. This can happen with young children, whose immune system is weak and in developing stages. So make sure that the meat is completely cooked, i.e. “well done”, not even slightly pinkish and opt for full boiled eggs.

[Read : Healthy Eating – 10 Tips To Inculcate Healthy Eating Habits in Kids]

6. Butter and Cheese

Children love butter and cheese and honestly, who doesn’t? A spread of butter or a generous spoonful of cheese sort of ensures that the plate is licked neat. However, butter and cheese contain saturated fats and chemical pollutants – hence not safe for kids.

7. Candies and Lollipops

lollipop unhealthy food

With loads of sugar, artificial coloring and flavors, hard candies, gums, lollipops, jelly toffees etc can cause cavities and other dental problems. The nutritive value is nil, but the taste could particularly be liked by tots. These unhealthy foods can be reserved as special treats but owing to the empty nutrition cart, they are best consumed in check.

8. Raw Peanuts

Peanuts do not suit everyone and may cause adverse allergies. Whether boiled or roasted, the size and smooth texture of peanuts increases the risk of swallowing directly or lodging in the throat or windpipe. This may cause fatal choking.

9. Popcorn

popcorn unhealthy foods

Cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn or the classic salted, can now even be made at home thanks to ready-to-make packs. These munchies are often favored since they are not fried and appear as healthy alternatives. However, their texture and shape is what enlists them as one of the dangerous foods for children. They not only stick to the teeth, but their tiny, lightweight particles can be easily sucked in the windpipe while laughing or swallowing. This may cause choking and difficulty in breathing. God forbid! If the bit of popcorn travels down to the lungs, it may cause lung infection or even pneumonia.

10. Seeds of Fruits

Serving fresh fruits to the kids is a very important part of a balanced diet. However, caution should be exercised with fruits containing stones or small seeds- example cherries, apples, plums, peaches, apricots etc. The seeds contain amygdalin, which produces cyanide. Cyanide is a very harmful toxin and large consumption causes poisoning. Choking hazards are also common when it comes to seeds.

11. Pastries, Cookies, and Cakes


Despite their delicious taste, these treats include almost no essential nutrients and are loaded with calories and preservatives.The majority of these contain refined sugar, refined wheat flour, and added fats.

12. Grilled and Broiled Foods

Grilling, broiling, and frying are unhealthy cooking methods. Even though these foods are delicious and highly palatable, they are calorie-dense. Cooking food under high heat also releases unhealthy chemical compounds like acrylamides, acrolein, etc,. It is found that these chemicals may increase risks of cancer and heart disease in children in future.

In addition to the above foodstuff, smoked meat, sports drinks and sweetened yogurts are other items which must be consumed in moderation. These contain high amounts of saturated fats and sugar.

[Read : Healthy Snacks for Children Prepared at Home]

Healthy Kids-Friendly Foods

Give fresh, home-cooked food to kids. Keep pizza, cereal bars or above mentioned items reserved as treats. During those developmental years, it’s essential to provide them the necessary calories and nutrition for healthy growth. Pamper your little one with:

  • Full fat milk
  • Fresh fruits and juices
  • Lots of greens and colored vegetables
  • Beans and tomatoes are the new superfoods!

Good eating habits automatically lead to good health. So imbibe good habits in your children from early on so that they remain in good health. On that note, happy cooking and healthy eating!


1. Can I Give my Child Aerated Drinks?

No, it is not safe. Children’s digestive systems might get affected. Give them fresh juices instead.

2. Can Kids Eat Chips?

Yes, in moderate quantities. Ensure you buy them reputed brands. Do not opt for very strong flavors.

3. Is Popcorn Junk Food?

No, pop corn is not. It is infact healthy. You can give this as a healthy junk food to your kid.

4. Can I Give my Child Granola and Energy Bars?

No, please don’t. Despite all health claims, they are not safe for children. Include all nutrition in their diet.

Read Also:

Top 10 Ways You Are Making Your Child Obese

10 Healthy And Easy Milkshake Recipes For Kids

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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