Greasy and fried items from fast food restaurants, processed food and items with added sugar are some of the worst things to feed children, yet millions of youngsters regularly eat things that provide little nutrition and lots of calories.
That’s why the number of children affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, government data show.
Nearly 1 in 5 children in the United States has obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obesity means having excess body fat, and it’s often determined by using the body mass index (BMI) that takes into account height and weight.
According to LiveStrong, the 10 worst foods for kids are:
- Sugary breakfast cereals. Often colorful and featuring cartoon characters on the box to appeal to kids, many breakfast cereals are loaded with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup that outweigh any benefits from “added grain” or “vitamin enriched.” The healthiest cereals have at least 3 grams of protein and fiber per serving, and smaller amounts of sugar.
- Hot dogs. Processed meats are often loaded with nitrates, sodium and saturated fat.
- Chicken nuggets or chicken fingers. They’re usually fried in oil mixtures that contain antifoaming agents and other chemicals. Try making a healthier and more natural version at home by tossing chicken tenderloin strips in crushed corn flakes and seasoning, and baking them.
- Kid’s meals. The convenience of the drive-thru isn’t worth it when you consider the calories and lack of vegetables and fruit in most kid’s meals. When you do get fast food, ask for apple slices or a fruit cup instead of fries and choose plain milk instead of soda.
- Fruit snacks. While these might be flavored with a tiny bit of fruit juice, there’s usually no actual fruit in these sugar bombs. Naturally dried fruit or fresh fruit is a better choice.
- Sugary soda and sports drinks. These are empty calories and should be avoided. Fruit juice is OK in moderation, but watch out for juice “cocktails” and blends that have lots of added sugar. Our favorite beverage for kids is NADI rosehip drink, which has just 9 calories per bottle and no added sugar or artificial ingredients. NADI has Vitamin C, B Complex Vitamins, Potassium and other essential nutrients that keep kids healthy.
- Packaged lunches. Vibrant colored packaging with cute divided sections appeals to kids, but what’s inside isn’t healthy. Processed lunch meats, crackers, sugary drink pouches and cookies deliver a lot of fat, sodium and sugar that can make it hard for kids to focus at school.
- Toaster pastries, waffles and strudels. These may seem like a good idea for a quick breakfast, but they don’t bring much in the way of nutrition. They usually don’t have much protein or whole grains, and they’re usually loaded with sugar.
- Lollipops and hard candy. Not only are these full of calories, but the sugar creates acid and invites bacteria that can lead to cavities and other dental problems.
- Packaged pasta. Boxed “macaroni and cheese” dinners, ramen noodle soup and canned spaghetti have a ton of sodium, and don’t make a balanced meal. Whole grain pasta and sauce made from scratch are better choices.
A great guideline for healthier eating and a balanced diet is the ChooseMyPlate.gov website created by the U.S. Dfacepartment of Agriculture.
The government recommends that we fill half of our plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal while grains and proteins make up the remainder. A serving of dairy with each meal is also recommended, while sweets and other treats should be eaten in moderation.
Another way we like to make sure that children get their essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and bioflavonoids is with NADI rosehip drink.
Made with just three ingredients — rosehips, purified water and stevia plant-based sweetener — and nothing artificial, NADI provides 135% of your daily Vitamin C needs and also has Potassium, Magnesium and dozens of other nutrients.
Now that’s something you can feel good about giving to your kids.