Avoid These Unhealthy Kid Foods

Our 3-year old daughter just loves the Fruit by the Foot snack we bought her at Costco. It’s the kind of happy food that she wants to have coming back from school, before going out for a walk, or every time we take her to the playground or out for a trip. The reason the candy quickly became her favorite is quite simple: It’s sweet. With 10 g of sugar per roll, it’s really sweet. When I tried it after we bought the first box, I felt the amount of sugar was right for me, and that’s obviously too much for a baby despite the fruity taste. But we didn’t just take it away from her (we bought two boxes for her, 42 rolls per box). She’s still a baby and loves some treats once in a while. So we only let her have half a roll, not the full foot, every time she wants one. Another her favorite is Kellogg’s Corn Pops cereal, which is coated with sugar.

We know too much sugar is not good for our children, so we are trying to limit their intake for sugar, or anything that’s nothing but sweet. In fact, none of our children is craving for sweets: They will be happy if we give them the fruit candy. If they don’t get it, they won’t complain, especially the older one. She’s a meat eater, but also likes vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, and drinks a lot low-fat milk :) But then, when we look at the store shelves, we can find a lot of children foods claimed by manufactures as healthy and nutritious that are not really so. Instead, what many have in common are two ingredients: sugar and salt, lot of them. Today, on Time’s website, they listed 9 kid foods that parents should avoid and the Fruit by the Foot is one of them.

According to Time, these foods have more than just vitamins and minerals that our children need. They are actually too salty for kids:

  • Kid Cuisine All Star Chicken Breast Nuggets
    Alternative: Kid Cuisine’s Twist and Twirl Spaghetti with Meatballs.
  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers
    Alternative: Honey Maid graham crackers.
  • Campbell Soup Cars Souper Shapes Condensed Soup
    Alternative: Earth’s Best Organic Elmo Vegetable Soup
  • Kraft Scooby-Doo! Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
    Alternative: Uncle Ben’s Brown Whole Grain Rice.
  • Oscar Mayer Lunchables Mini Tacos
    Alternative: Oscar Mayer Lunchables Chicken Dunks.

And these are just too sweet:

  • Kudos Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
    Alternative: Cascadian Farms’ Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.
  • Betty Crocker Fruit By The Foot
    Alternative: Real fruit
  • Sunny Delight
    Alternative: Milk

The last item on Time’s list is Earth’s Best Organic Mini Waffles, which Time says has a high level of calories from fat. The alternative, as suggested by Time, is Quaker Oats.

Do you always pay attention to the nutrition label when shopping for kid foods?

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5 Responses to “Avoid These Unhealthy Kid Foods”

  1. Savings Toolbox |  Aug 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Not only do the products on the list prove to be unhealthy, they also are a drain on a family’s grocery budget. A box of cereal and a gallon of gas are nearly the same price nowadays! Geesh!

    Plus, add in the costs of preventative dental care,the cost of cavities, and the increase in childhood obesity, it seems like a no-brainer to avoid the junk and encourage fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if you’re lucky to have a child who enjoys those foods like your post indicates. Have a little fun at the farmer’s market and let the kids choose some of the fruits and veggies they want to snack on after school.

    Great information and nice job on the post!

  2. undisclosed |  Sep 22, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Some of the alternatives seem no better than the first choices.
    There are other natural brands to give the kids, instead of choices like brown rice. Annie’s Homegrown is an organic mac & cheese much more appealing to a youngster. This same brand offers up Arthur themed pasta, and exclusive stories little ones will be sure to enjoy. I’ve read it may have more sugar than Chef Boyardee, sometimes meals can’t be 100% healthy. Though Annie’s Homegrown is darn close.
    Those prized fishes can be replaced by Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies!
    There are a variety of eye catching kid oriented prepackaged cartoon foods. Tasty and healthy desserts too!