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 a fad? As you happily arrange the food items shopped 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 potential health hazard for your little one? Read below to find the disguised foods items which may be dangerous for your kid:
Top 10 Unhealthy Foods For Your Child
- Potato chips and French fries: French fries is 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 recently baked varieties have been promoted, they are still high in trans-fat and salt. Such high quantity 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
- 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
- Doughnuts and other fried sweets: Double chocolate glazed doughnuts, cream doughnuts or jalebis, these contain high amount of sugar and artificial flavors. Such 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 sweet craving, make fruit chat, fruit bun or fruit cream using yogurt
- 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. More prevalent in the western countries, in February 2010, American Academy of Pediatrics specially mentioned hot dogs as one of the leading food related fatal choking. Apart from the risk of choking, they are fried/grilled, contain preservatives and do not provide any nutrition
- 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 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
- 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 being safe for kids
- Candies and lollipops: 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. There foods can be reserved as special treats but owing to the empty nutrition cart, they are best consumed in check
- 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
- Popcorn: Cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn or the classic salted, they 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 alternative. However their texture and shape is what enlists them as one of the dangerous food 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
- Seeds of fruits: Serving fresh fruits to the kids is a very important part of 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
In addition to the above foodstuffs, 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.
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: Just ensure they have enough outdoor play and exercise
- Fresh fruits and juices
- Lots of greens and colored vegetables
- Beans and tomatoes: These are the new superfoods!
On that note, happy cooking and healthy eating!