Today’s foods are loaded with sugars, are high in cholesterol, artificial flavors and preservatives. As a dad, when purchasing a decorated cereal product or yogurt with animated pakcaging, you could be introducing various chemicals, fats and sugars into your child’s diet.
These products appear great at face value, but upon closer inspection, the labels promising nutrition are nothing more than a cover up. We explore the need to check the label: Do you really know what you’re feeding your child?
What Should Children be Eating?
According to nutritional research, children should not be consuming more than 32 grams of sugar and up to 40 grams of fat per day. Sadly, most of the child-friendly foods with attractive packaging exceed these doses in a single serving. Understanding which foods to incorporate in your child’s daily diet can provide the peace of mind you are delivering the nutrition your family needs and deserves.
Know What You are Feeding Your Child
The most popular food product served to kids each day is cereal. These foods are available in varieties from chocolate crunch to rainbow colored flakes. The best cereals should consist of wholegrains, fortified vitamins and low sugar content. Avoid very hard cereals that young children could choke on.
Sandwiches are the perfect light snack or lunchbox addition. Unfortunately, there is a difference between regular brown bread and wholegrain or seeded. White bread should not be part of the daily diet at all. To determine which breads are healthiest, look at the fiber content.
Quality breads will content a fair portion of fiber meeting the daily requirements for the nutritional needs of children. It is easiest to look for labels that state complete wholegrain or whole wheat.
Undoubtedly the most popular treat for kids is the classic yogurt. It remains the simplest way to introduce protein, calcium and probiotics that are gentle on digestion and essential for healthy growth and development.
To make the most of essential yogurt cultures, ensure products do not contain large amounts of sugar, avoid added fruit because of the spike in sugar content, and look out for natural flavors and colorants on the label. Do not purchase a yogurt simply for the animated characters on the packaging.
Thinly sliced meat including chicken and turkey are wonderful additions to a sandwich or wrap. When purchasing protein enriched products check the label and ensure it is free from MSG and artificial flavors.
Although MSG has received approval from the FDA, there is much controversy surrounding this ingredient. Studies have found MSG to play a role in asthma and possible brain imbalances. Read the sodium levels on the label and ensure it is within an acceptable range.
By educating yourself reading the labels of common food products for children, you can make healthier informed choices for them. You will be stunned at the sheer number of products loaded with sugars, fats and artificial additives. Awareness into nutritionally valuable solutions will provide young ones the best start in life.