That quick snack or meal many parents make their kids could be compromising their long-term health. Processed foods are easy to grab and heat up and eat, but this convenience comes with a cost.
Processed foods are loaded with chemicals to help with preservation, appearance, and taste of foods. Sandra Henderson, in her article “6 Dangers of Processed Food for Your Kids” published on ZisBoomBah.com, states that food manufacturers use over 6000 chemicals to alter the fast food we feed our young. These foods also have high concentrations of saturated fat, sodium and sugar; all three substances in large amounts have been linked to child obesity, Diabetes Type 2 and heart problems.
Even old fashioned prepackaged snacks can be a cause for concern. Linda Ray, writing for Livestrong.com, listed the “Top Ten Most Unhealthy Snacks for Kids” and whole milk and cookies took the top two spots. Whole milk is filled with saturated fats, which contribute to obesity, and prepackaged cookies are filled with hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortening that plays a role in cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Soft drinks have become a favorite target of New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg because of the amount of sugar added to flavor these beverages. Soda pop and other sugary drinks have been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being a leading cause of obesity in children.
An Oregon Health & Science University study lists potato chips as one of the major processed foods that children should avoid (as well as adults). Potato chips are often made with unhealthy oils and fats. The study suggested that a child obtains enough salt in one serving for the whole day. Salt is known to cause hypertension.
The good news is a parent can do something about what their children are eating. Purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on is a good alternative to processed snacks. One may want to set aside time to cook foods with their children and then store them away in the freezer or refrigerator to eat later. A parent can teach healthy eating habits while having good quality time with their kids.
Many parents have grown increasingly concerned about what their children are eating and how it will affect their health. Many prepackaged foods have low nutritional value and ingredients that should be avoided. Fresh foods and ingredients are a better choice when making meals.