As moms (and dads) we are faced with lots of decisions about the wellbeing of our kids before they are born. Being a dietitian, my kids relationship with food is very important to me. I hope my girls have a healthy relationship with food. I know I play a key role in helping them develop that relationship. In our house, we eat healthy about 80 % of the time. While I do believe food should NEVER be labeled as “bad”or “junk” there are 5 foods that I do not buy. I know my girls will be exposed to these foods at play dates, parties, school, and daycare. I have learned its ok, because I am doing my part in being a good role model, deciding what foods we serve at our dinner table.
1). Fruit Snacks
It really bother’s me that food manufacturers are allowed to advertise “kid” food as healthy. Fruit snacks are the perfect example, made with fruit, contains real fruit juice, the list goes on and on. What they are not telling parents is that they are full of “SUGAR” and contain artificial colourings and flavours. The amount of fruit juice is small and they stick to your kids teeth, increasing the risk of dental caries.
2). Macaroni and Cheese
I will avoid mentioning any names but you all probably know whom I am talking about. Kids love pasta. My oldest went through a phase where I thought she could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. I prefer to make my own pasta and my girls love a simple marinara sauce with parmesan cheese or a butternut squash mac and cheese. Store bought pastas can be high in sodium, artificial flavours and colors, plus you can add vegetables to make it healthier. Don’t get fooled by the companies that state they have added vegetables, the amount added is insignificant.
3). Fruit Flavoured Yogurt
My family is big into yogurt and we eat it regularly on a daily basis. I look at fruit flavoured yogurts as a dessert. Most flavoured yogurts are high in sugar or are sweetened with sugar substitutes. Instead I buy greek style plain yogurt and add home made pureed fruit which my girls love.
4). Cold Cereal
Another pet peeve for me is how food is marketed to children. I find cereals are notorious when it comes to kids. I believe breakfast is important but I also want my kids to start their day off on the right foot, not get a sugar high and crash an hour later. Our current breakfast rotation includes waffles, toasted oats, pancakes, and toast with a nut butter and fresh fruit.
I am embarrassed to admit it but I used to be a Diet Pepsi junkie. I would drink 1-2 cans per day. I quit after my first pregnancy and never looked back, thank goodness. Actually, many of my eating habits changed during my first pregnancy. I don’t allow soda in my house because it is loaded in sugar, a can of soda contains up to 10 tsp of sugar. On the other hand, diet soda’s are made with artificial sweeteners. Current research has actually linked diet soda’s to obesity.
We are not perfect eater’s but I like to know what I am feeding my family. For that reason I try to make a lot of my own foods like tomato sauce, salad dressing, and I am looking forward to trying my own bread. On the other hand, I am a working mother and while it would be nice to make everything myself its not practical. I will read the ingredient list and look for products which the least and most recognizable ingredients to make a healthier and informed choice.