Encouraging young children to eat healthy nutritious food can be a challenge no matter what age. Our families are the most precious people in the world. We all want our children and grand children to be the best they can be and the question is are we helping them along the way starting with good health, diet and exercise. Are young childrens' diets today what they need to be for a long and healthy life. Reducing their intake of soda and visits to fast food outlets is a good place to start. Check out some of the links below for some simple, healthy food ideas for your kids.
Pop & Childrens Behaviour
A recent newspaper article linked the consumption of pop (soft drinks) in preschoolers to aggressive and destructive behaviour. It would be great to have a magic wand and say to your grandchildren here is a healthy snack and that would be the end of the subject, but there could be a few challenges along the way.
Three reasons our kids get hooked on fast food including pop
- Cheap and fast – easy for both kids and parents. A sad truth is that sometimes the price of fast food is often ridiculously cheap when compared with wholesome fruit and vegetables and of course they don't call it "fast" food for nothing. Fits in well with today's busy lifestyle.
- It just tastes good – the fast food industry spends a fortune on taste and flavour research and have the right blends of fat, salt and sugar and additives
- Addictive, especially to the young – good old MSG (monosodium glutamate) is in fast food in many guises and sometimes called "natural flavours" or "seasonings" to keep you coming back for more ... and more
Three major health reasons to cut down on fast food
- Obesity – because of the empty calories in fast food and insufficient exercise this is now a North American epidemic with 1 out of 3 school age children rated as obese which leads to health issues such as type II diabetes in adolescence which can affect kidneys and liver
- Health short-term - high blood pressure– and high cholesterol again which are traditionally “old peoples diseases” are being diagnosed in our children
- Health long-term - Cancer in later life – no mention has been made to the hundreds of additives, preservatives and chemicals in fast food to keep them fresh, crisp and tasty. Toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate in the body do the most harm to our children's developing bodies. Some of the many harmful chemicals, additives and preservatives used in fast food are ammonia sulphate, azoicarbonamide, butylated hydroxyanisole, Natural Red 4 and Yellow 5 colour, L-cysteine (sourced from human hair and duck feathers!), silicon (sand), sodium nitrates and nitrites and propylene glycol (antifreeze) and carcinogens, "ammonia and ammonia-sulfite process caramel colorings that contain 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole"
"Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which the substance is lost. Thus, the longer the biological half-life of the substance the greater the risk of chronic poisoning, even if environmental levels of the toxin are not very high" ~ Wikipedia
Nutritious Food Options for a quick snack
- What could be faster food than a piece of fresh organic fruit? An apple, banana,pear ... or ...
- Or how about a plate of crunchy fresh vegetables such as carrot, celery, radish or tomato ...
- Healthy humus and crackers or humus dip with fresh vegetables
- A serving of plain, natural Greek style yoghurt with your own fresh fruit - especially berries
- Delicious sun-dried fruit (no sulphites) and nuts (no salt) - lots of tasty combinations here
- Chop a hard-boiled egg and mix with a tablespoon of plain yoghurt and spread on brown rice crackers
- Mix and match favourites for balanced nutrition from the above and add small cheese cubes. Our grandson's latest snack favourite is cheese "curds"
- ... or simply a glass of refreshing clear, clean water
When friends get together for lunch or coffee those of us fortunate to have grandchildren sooner or later get to talking about the latest happenings with the grand kids and food stories always abound. When children are in the Terrible Twos (with that "no" word!), the Terrifying Threes (adding new meaning to stubborn) eating healthy food which is good for them can be a challenge. Hope these ideas help. Share healthy food ideas with friends on how to help your children and grandchildren eat more nutritious food.
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
~ Chuck Swindoll
- Change food items and choices gradually with your children
- Homemade juice is a great substitute for pop. Use fresh or home canned juice and mix 50 / 50 with water to cut down on natural sugar intake. Carrot juice for starters.
- Yes you can - can your own homemade berry juice
- Filtered water with fresh squeezed (or frozen) lemon juice another good choice
- A nutritious smoothie or fresh made juice made in a blender from fresh fruit and milk (skim, soy or almond)
- An easy to make and store rolled oats breakfast - a good start to the day
Links & References
- World Health Organization report 'Lax marketing regulations contribute to obesity crisis in children' (June, 2013)
- Educating kids to eat healthy
- Break your kids "bad" eating habits
- 180,000 deaths per annum attributed to soft drink consumption
- Advertising unhealthy food to children adding to obesity epidemic
- Healthy kid friendly food and snacks from the Heart and Stroke Foundation
- Help your children to understand diet and exercise Supersize Me
- Expand these baby menu ideas for your kids at school
- Some excellent ideas from Jackie (a nutritionist) for more healthy options for parents & kids at The Lunch Box Makeover
- Three easy to make snacks
- Here's a link to an online course for children's healthy eating
A few more links on what's in pop / soda
- Pop has loads of sugar which is not healthy for you
- People gain weight even from drinking diet pop - "Sugar is a poison"
- There is BPA and other unhealthy chemicals in pop
- The brown colouring in pop is chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole - carcinogenic concerns
- Caffeine (in pop) and cancer are related and also other diseases - increased morbidity in our children's future
- There is little nutritional value in pop - Statistics Canada
- Health Canada encourages parents to educate healthy eating habits in their children re caffeine - Point #10
- Sugar and sweeteners. The last word (for now) from the Mayo Clinic
More meal ideas from Caramel and Parsley ...
- #1 for your family's health - Food and meal ideas
- #2 Snacks & Desserts - Food and meal ideas
- #3 Healthy breakfast choices - Food and meal ideas
- #4 Lunch - Food and meal ideas
- #5 Dinner - Food and meal ideas
- #6 More Meal suggestions - Food and meal ideas
Petition to ban chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole in soda
As a matter of law, and as an essential measure to protect the public health, the
FDA should ban the use of ammonia- and ammonia-sulfite-process caramel colorings
that contain 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, both of which cause cancer in
laboratory animals. Those colorings are used for purely cosmetic purposes and serve no
nutritional or preservative function. The FDA should not delay eliminating dangerous
artificial caramel colorings from the food supply and to require more honest labeling of
any caramel colorings left on the market.