18. Try not to give children any M&M’s — even as a reward.
Candy, in general, isn’t healthy for kids, but some parents believe that even those fun-sized packets of M&M’s aren’t going to do much harm. After all, they can be handy when it comes to rewarding your kids — or bribing them! However, it’s not the sugar content you should worry about; it’s the amount of color dye used to make each of those round chocolate buttons pleasant to the eye. In fact, out of 50 candies measured, it’s ranked second in the highest amount of dyes used. SO skip this little treat and choose something else that’s not so colorful.
On the other side of the equation is Skittles: instead of chocolate, you have fruit-flavored snacks, each with their own flavor. Again, those colors didn’t come about naturally. One serving of Skittles, which is the entire pack, has 33.3 milligrams of dyes alone. That’s a lot to be putting into your body. In fact, the artificial colors used in Skittles are the same ones that are used in M&M’s. Skip these all together and get some fruit into your kids’ bodies instead of the artificial sugar. If you introduce fruit early on, children will prefer the taste of the real deal anyway.
16. Keebler cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers contain high amounts of fat.
Crackers, you’d think, are supposed to be healthy for your kids. There’s no frying, less salt, and they’re easy for kids to eat. But surprise, surprise; they’re not as good as you initially thought. This one probably really hurts because these treats come in convenient wrappers, which are easy to toss in your kid’s lunch pack. This is because they have a lot of fat content, especially with the peanut butter that’s added to the middle. This ingredient gives kids a lot of unnecessary oils that they don’t need. Organic peanut butter options or making these sandwich crackers at home is a great alternative.
15. Sunny D orange strawberry is unhealthy for children.
Another fruit juice to avoid, Sunny D, is packed with too much sugar; you might as well let your kids eat it out of the bag with a spoon. It’s filled with vitamin C, sure, but that shouldn’t be its primary selling point since you can get vitamin C from better sources. Just have an actual orange, for instance. The color is also a cause for concern, as it doesn’t actually come from cherry juice. Instead, it is a result of red dye that’s been added to make it more attractive. Moreover, if your kid is drinking this every single day, then they’re absorbing a lot of that harmful dye.
14. Trix is a crunchy, fruity cereal that offers no nutritional value.
That crunchy, fruity cereal has been a favorite for decades, and everyone knows why. Those bright colors and fun shapes, what kid could resist? However, it’s because of all those fun colors that this is one of the worst cereals you can give your children. Like other foods on this list, all of that dye in each individual shape is more than the FDA recommends on a daily scale. So, silly rabbit, maybe Trix isn’t for kids after all. Maybe try some hearty oatmeal mixed with real fruit instead of the imitation stuff.
13. Powerade orange contains large amounts of harmful dyes.
Sports stars and athletics mostly use Powerade. That can be inspiring for kids who are just getting into sports and want to be like their idols. Although Powerade is excellent at keeping kids hydrated and replacing lost electrolytes after heavy activities, we have already mentioned how bad these sweet drinks are for children. Not only do sports drinks contain very little nutritional benefit, but they also leave less room in your kids’ diet for healthy items such as water, fruits, protein, and vegetables. These drinks may also cause tooth decay. However, if you must go for an energy drink, please do not purchase the orange at all costs. The orange color is very unnatural as a result of dyes. The same can be said for the blue and red Powerade too. Avoid these as much as possible and settle for water, and cut slices of fruit instead.
12. Fruity Cheerios are not as healthy as regular Cheerios.
Cheerios are supposed to be the heart-healthy choice since it doesn’t have much sugar and has a decent amount of fiber. However, that’s the regular Cheerios; the Fruity Cheerios are burdened with more dyes to create those colorful loops. Many researchers propose better alternatives, such as Berry Berry Kix, which uses fruit juice instead of dyes. You should also reach for Special K Red Berries since there are dried strawberries instead of this particular Cheerios variation. Consider these or go back to the original Cheerios if you need to provide your kid with a healthy snack.
11. Pancake and waffle mixes contain ingredients harmful to growing children.
Pancakes or waffles seem like a great way to start the day. They are hot, they can be loaded with fruit, and they will keep your kid full for the rest of the day. However, these boxed mixes contain many oils and shortening that your kid should not be having for breakfast, as they can carb crash in the middle of the day. In addition, many pancake mixes contain hydrogenated oil, the manufactured form of trans fat, which we all know is bad for us and can impact our cholesterol. Now Annie’s homegrown, organic pancake mix might be okay, but it’s better to make pancakes and waffles from scratch so that you can control precisely what is going into them. If you really want to give your children a healthy breakfast, just stick with the fresh fruit and hold the pancakes with syrup.
Regular yogurt is a popular snack among children. A great and healthy addition to a child’s diet, yogurt can be beneficial. However, kids’ yogurt is just the opposite. Many kids’ yogurt contains artificial colors and an extreme amount of added sugar. The amount of sugar contained in those yogurts are incredibly unhealthy and are not beneficial at all. In addition to the added sugar, the fun pink, blue, and red colors of children’s yogurt are all created by unhealthy, artificial dyes. Although many food dyes have been banned, others can cause allergic reactions in kids. They may also possibly trigger hyperactivity or other types of adverse behavior. Instead, you may want to research and buy regular yogurt to avoid these artificial coloring and unnecessary sugar.
9. The most popular movie time snack is microwaved popcorn — and it’s not healthy.
Microwaved popcorn is often a family’s go-to snack while spending an evening together or watching a movie. It is usually a favorite and quick, flavorful choice for kids’ snacks. It is quick and easy to throw a popcorn bag into the microwave and press the popcorn button. However, you should be aware that the bags used in microwaved popcorn can potentially release dangerous chemicals. The bags contain perfluorinated chemicals. When heated on high, they emit compounds in the process that can be potentially harmful to a child’s development and long-term health issues. Rather than choosing a pre-packaged bag of microwave popcorn, try popping some of your own kernels. Not only will you avoid toxic chemicals, but it can also be a fun experience for the family to do together.
Most households contain at least some canned foods from canned green beans, soup, and even canned tomatoes. However, it is vital to know the risks associated with canned food products when it comes to a child’s development. BPA is a toxic element that can be found in many packaging materials like plastic. However, in cans, it is detected in much higher amounts. Since BPA is located in the packaging of cans, this also means that it is emitted into the foods. The dangerous element of BPA can affect the development of the child, including their reproductive system. If you are looking to make pasta with a tomato sauce, you may want to look for a glass jar or use freshly chopped tomatoes. Additionally, rather than using canned vegetables, look to use fresh vegetables.
7. Hot dogs are a choking hazard — and processed meat.
Processed meat, specifically hot dogs, should be avoided given to children as much as possible. Although most kids love hot dogs, and they are often a popular quick meal while out and about, eating too many processed meat increases the likelihood of long-term health issues, including cancer. In addition to health concerns, hot dogs are more likely to lodge themselves in a child’s airway. A healthier alternative to the processed hot dogs is fish-based products. Even while out and about and with fast food, fish is a much healthier option for a child’s development than the processed meat in hot dogs. Therefore the next time you are at a sporting event or looking for a quick lunch idea, consider the alternatives.
6. Popular fruits such as cherries and grapes need to be cut in a particular way for toddlers.
It may seem contradictory advice not to feed a child whole fruit since they are incredibly healthy for their growing bodies. Although way more beneficial healthwise for their diet than processed sweets, some foods such as cherries and grapes can be hazardous. Whole fruits such as cherries and grapes can increase a child’s risk for choking by an exponential amount. These bite-sized, naturally sweet treats are perfectly shaped to slip into a young child’s airway and cutting off their oxygen. Parents can cut these fruits into quarters, making them less dangerous. However, provide them to children with extreme caution. You should always be sure to keep an eye on any child while he or she is eating.
5. If cautious, citrus fruits may be an excellent snack for children.
Oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits are terrific sources of vitamin C and fiber for growing children. While they can be a healthy snack in general, they can also be dangerous for small mouths. You should never provide children whole citrus segments. Even the sweet little clementines can increase their risk of choking. Like cherries and grapes, the choking hazard can be reduced drastically by cutting the citrus into smaller segments. However, even cut up citrus snacks should be heavily monitored when given to children.
4. Avoid peanut butter and other nut butters until a certain age.
A popular topping for toast or crackers, peanut, and nut jars of butter can be extremely dangerous. A spoonful of peanut or nut butter might seem like a great way to serve the creamy, protein-packed spread, but it also increases the risk of a young child choking. In addition, feeding peanut or nut kinds of butter to children may cause a peanut allergic reaction. It has since been recommended that babies younger than six months of age be introduced to peanut butter to reduce the occurrence or likelihood of peanut allergies, but that is a personal decision. It is best to consult with your physician and, if provided, spread it thinly.
3. While popular, babies and toddlers shouldn’t eat marshmallows.
A common component in both s’ mores and a large variety of sugary cereals, marshmallows should be avoided where possible. As a spongy substance, marshmallows are an obvious choking hazard and risk blocking a child’s airway. In addition to being a choking hazard, marshmallows are fluffy, sweet treats that are incredibly high in sugar, and not much else. Marshmallows offer very little nutritional value and can also increase a child’s taste preference for sugary treats. Increased consumption of sugary treats can then lead to tooth decay and possibly a refusal to eat their veggies. Their palettes should avoid sugary foods, so they do not become accustomed to them.
2. Do not feed children raw eggs and raw egg products.
For similar reasons that children should avoid eating rare beef, they should also avoid raw eggs or products that contain raw eggs. Although most eggs in the United States are pasteurized, which removes many of the health risks, they still carry a risk of salmonella. Underdeveloped immune systems, such as those in children, have a hard time fighting should it be contracted. This means that children should never be fed raw cookie dough, eggnog, and running egg yolks. These risks are difficult for adults to fight off but more so for children who have an immune system that is not as strong.
1. Like raw milk and egg products, children don’t need raw fish.
Sushi, sashimi, and poke are considered delicious, protein and omega-3 fatty acid packed foods. However, children should avoid eating any raw fish at all costs. There are many risks associated with eating raw fish that can be harmful to children. Eating raw fish contains potential hazards such as hepatitis, parasitic infections, and salmonella. The emerging, developing immune systems in children can’t always fight these risks. It is more important to be safe and not take the risk. Children’s immune systems have not fully developed, and issues such as hepatitis or salmonella are too intense for them to fend off.