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6 Foods That Kids Should Avoid

6 Foods That Kids Should Avoid

Let me just start by saying that I am a firm believer in moderation when it comes to eating. In our house, there are no foods that are completely off-limits. But there are many that are reserved for special occasions, and many others reserved for “once in a blue moon” occasions.

The items on this list represent the latter. They are not evil. And your child certainly won’t be harmed by the occasional serving. But it’s still best to limit their consumption to rare situations.

Here are some foods that children should avoid:

1. Microwave popcorn.

Up until about five years ago, I had never even heard of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. It’s the chemical used to line the bags of microwave popcorn so that they don’t catch on fire. And while I’m a big fan of keeping flaming microwaves at bay, I’m alarmed by the fact that PFOA has been linked to cancerpostponed pubertythyroid disease and high cholesterol in kids. Not to mention the chemicals that are used to get that “imitation butter” flavor so often found on microwave popcorn. Yuck. Steer clear of the microwave version and pop your own. Here’s how.

2. Processed meats.

Hot dogs, bologna, SPAM, and other forms of processed meats may sound like kid-friendly foods, but they are loaded with fat, nitrates, sodium and preservatives — all things that are very unfriendly for kids. These foods have also been found to increase a kid’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. If your kids love lunch meats, opt for preservative-free varieties whenever possible. Or make your own by thinly slicing chicken or turkey at home.

3. Canned tomatoes.

OK, this one may surprise you. But by now you’ve probably heard all about BPA, or bisphenol-A, the chemical additive found in everything from soft plastics to cash register receipts, to canned foods. The natural acidity of tomatoes means that even more BPA is leached out of cans when tomatoes are inside. BPA has been linked to childhood obesity, asthmareproductive changesthyroid dysfunctiondiabetes, and liver problems. Bottom line: it’s a chemical you want to avoid whenever possible.

4. Kids’ yogurt.

Yogurt is a wonderfully healthy food for kids. Kids’ yogurt not so much. That’s because it’s so loaded with artificial colors and sugar that it negates any health benefits the original food might contain. But that doesn’t mean you need to forgo yogurt altogether. Just buy the plain variety and sweeten it with frozen fruit, raisins, or honey (for kids older than 1.)

5. Sports drinks.

Unless your kids are exercising heavily on a hot day, there really is no need for them to drink sports drinks. Experts say doing so may make them even less likely to choose water at other times of day because it will taste so bland in comparison. If they are thirsty, offer water. And for a great post-soccer game recovery drink, try chocolate milk — it has the perfect blend of carbs and protein to help little bodies repair and replenish.

6. Sugary cereals.

There is no aisle more appealing to kids than the cereal aisle. With its rainbow of colors and variety of cartoon characters, sugary kids cereals are probably some of the most begged for foods in the supermarket. But don’t fall for labeling that claims these foods are “whole grain” or contain “extra fiber.” Brightly colored bit of oats or rice are not healthy, and no amount of sprayed on vitamins or extra fiber will make them so. In a recent analysis, Consumer Reports found that only Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Kix and Life were low enough in sugar and high enough in fiber to be considered good foods for kids.

Read more: Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, General Health, Health, Teens

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Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally – all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

90 comments

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2:24AM PDT on Oct 18, 2014

Thank you!

10:28PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

I completely agree, of course all kind of candy that contain, colors, hydrogenated oils and who knows what else. Many more packaged snacks and chips with weird preservatives, ice creams, oh the list is endless when it comes to clean food. Its so easy to find junk and so hard to find real food these days.

5:05AM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

thank you for posting

9:57PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

tls

4:14PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Thanks for the info.

3:01PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Agree, thanks!

4:19PM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

Good advice. Thanks.

9:21PM PDT on Mar 12, 2014

I couldn't agree more!! Working in a school, I am appalled at what parents send in their children's lunch kits for snacks and lunches. We need to teach more mothers about basic nutrition for themselves and their off spring. No wonder today's children have learning disabilities.

8:55PM PDT on Mar 12, 2014

Good list for big kids too.!

3:38AM PDT on Mar 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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