Thursday, March 4, 2010

Be Aware of Snack Traps!

Several food companies advertise processed snacks as great healthy choices for kids. We've all seen kids cereal loaded with sugar and artificial colors! Excessive amounts of sugar, fat and sodium not only cause healthy problems, but also damage kids' ability to develop good taste buds!

We compiled a list of common snack traps for kids available at grocery stores. Some companies make healthy versions of the list below. So read the labels to distinguish them!

- Sugary cereal.
- Frozen pre-packaged pizza, cheese balls, fried sticks in general.
- Sugary yogurt with artificial colors.
- Cereal bars loaded with sugar (they should be labeled as candy!).
- Chips, including the veggie versions.
- Juices and smoothies loaded with sugar and artificial colors.
- Artificial cheeses
- Caloric cookies as a result of high fat and sugar, and poor in fibers.
- Fried doughnut and pastries.
- Crackers and cream cheeses high in sodium.
- Hot dogs, and high fat meats such as pepperoni

The list can be very long, and impossible to memorize! Improve the quality of kids' snacks by reading labels, and limiting fat, sugar and sodium intake. Stick with natural versions whenever possible.
Note that  many ingredients are variations of sugar such as corn syrup and high frutose, which can be misleading.

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  1. This little rant came about after reading another blog concerning harmful kid’s snacks being pushed by marketing mavens on our kids. It makes me so mad that parents buy into this concept of character yogurts as being a healthy snack. Would you pump yourself with dye-filled, sugar infused if you really knew what was if that stuff? Probably not. So why is it O.K. if we give this to our kids? Because Sponge Bob’s picture is on each squeezy yogurt packet? My 4.5 year old son will never be allowed yogurts with characters on the label.
    #1. Because they are LOADED with sugar
    #2. They have crazy artificial colorants that are known to cause cancer in lab rats. Yes, cancer.
    I always find it shocking that parents give this to their kids under the pretext of it being, "healthy". One mother I asked offered this, "It's yogurt, it's not baaaadd for them".
    Oh, yes it is!
    Another pet peeve I have with kids' snacks and these are BANNED from my house, are the gummy/fruit chews, bears and other appealing-to-children character candies. There, I said it! I called them what they are… "candy"! I have tried many different brands of soft, chewy fruit snacks –from organic to Nabisco, all of which make my loving and sweet child turn instantly into a crazy nut ball that bounces from sofa to Noguchi coffee table without flinching!
    I say shame on these companies for making the products our kids beg for when we go to the grocery extremely unhealthy and even, harmful. BUT, really… shame on parents for buying it too. After all, someone is buying these products for their kids. Not me. One could use the excuse of not having enough time. I am a busy parent too, but not too busy to peel a juicy orange as a healthy snack instead of on-the-go, sugar infused yogurt packets. I hope someone reads this and remembers my call to action that these snacks are not healthy when they reach for them to add to their grocery cart.
    They are candy and nothing more!

  2. Donna, you are so right! I wish our kids were not exposed to these harmful products every day. It is hard to limit them when all of their friends are buying this stuff at school! We don't allow these products at home either.