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Foods that should not be in your Kids Lunchbox

14/06/2013 | Child Health, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

If you do a search online for healthy foods that you can give to your children for their school lunch you’ll find thousands of different webpages. The fact is, more and more people are beginning to realize that many of the processed foods that our children eat today are not doing their health or their futures any favours. Thus parents are desperately searching for healthy, quick and affordable alternatives that will leave their kids satiated but won’t affect their health negatively.

The problem is that most parents have no idea about the ingredients that are to be found in many of today’s ‘kid friendly’  foods. In the rush to get them something healthy and nutritious many parents make the mistake of buying the wrong foods and doing just the opposite. With that in mind we’ve put together a little information about the foods that absolutely should not be in your child’s lunchbox.

One of the worst culprits are juice drinks that are very popular, quite convenient and also, for the most part, loaded with enough high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals to kill a lab rat. Some of the worst of this group are the drinks that have the label ‘made with real fruit juice’ on them. While this may be true, the actual amount of real juice is usually quite low and, in many cases, lower than the actual amount of sugar that is included. Much better for your children would be to give them water, or a plastic container that they can bring from home filled with real fruit juice that has been cut with water. Avoid whole milk as well as it’s laden with fat and hormones.

Another food that finds its way into many children’s lunchbox is cold cuts, including bologna and other processed meats.  Most of these are loaded with saturated fat, sodium, nitrates and nitrites and other preservatives. Many parents make the mistake of thinking that giving their children meat is one of the only ways to make sure that they get their protein but there are many alternatives that can found today,  including meatless cold cuts made with soy and other high-protein meat alternatives.

While yogurt is normally a high-quality food that is filled with protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12, whole milk yogurt has an incredible amount of fat and most of it is saturated. Even worse, many of the yogurts that are purchased for school lunches contain nearly as much sugar (in the form of corn syrup) as a large candy bar. If your kids love yogurt you definitely should look into low-fat yogurt that contains  real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

Most kids absolutely adore any type of fruit rollup but unfortunately most brands are about as nutritious as eating cardboard. Not only are they absolutely loaded with sugar and other chemical additives and colorings but much of what goes in your child’s mouth remains on your teeth after they’ve eaten and creates an environment that’s highly conducive to  cavities. There are a number of all-natural brands on the market but these should be reserved as treats and eating them should be followed by a good tooth brushing.

Lastly there are crisps and cheese puffs, snack foods that most people realise are extremely unhealthy but still manage to make it into many children’s lunchboxes. Crisps are loaded with fat and sodium and, in the eyes of many health experts, are even worse than empty calories. They are also found in nearly 60% of all children’s lunchboxes, a telling statistic that proves that we still have a long way to go as far as the types of foods that we give to our children.

This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive and there are plenty of other foods that really shouldn’t be given to children on any sort of a regular basis. The fact is, the eating habits that your child forms when they are young will be the same habits that follow them into adulthood. If you offer them  delicious and nutritious foods now the chance that they will eat well as adults is much higher.  Best of luck.

 

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