“The top 10 foods that nutrition experts won’t feed their kids” is a recent article written by Registered Dietitian, Betsy Wallace, who polled 20 well-respected pediatric nutrition experts on the subject and the outcome is listed below. I stumbled across this list recently and agreed with all 10 of them so I thought it was worth sharing. In my positions as a nutrition counselor and a mom, as well as in my own diet, I try not to focus on restrictions and labeling food as good or bad, but this list depicts some of the worst offenders that are commonly served in the modern over-processed diet that I try limit in our household.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages– including soda, juice drinks, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks, and powered drink mixes. They provide no nutritional benefits, and are often the #1 source of excess calories in adolescent diets. Healthier drink alternatives: water, milk, seltzer, and 100% juice
- TV dinners and packaged lunches– these items are typically highly processed, high in sodium, fat, and have minimal nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, and whole grains).
- Packaged breakfast pastries– although, better than nothing in the morning, they are typically loaded with sugar and are low in fiber. More nutritious convenience items include granola bars made with whole grains oats, fruit, and nuts, oatmeal, or whole grain toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.
- Sweetened and artificially colored cereals– For obvious reasons, these sugary processed options provide little nutritional benefits. One of the dietitians interviewed for the article said “if I gave my kids the options of rainbow colored cereals with marshmallows and sprinkles, or a brown whole-grain cereal, guess which one they’d pick every time? That’s why they don’t get the choice.” Try adding blueberries or cut up strawberries to cereal for a healthy alternative to the sweetened colorful cereals.
- Canned pasta meals– refined white flour mixed with tomatoes, preservatives, and low quality canned meat is a far cry from a complete meal. If pressed for time at night, try making larger batches of sauce with meatballs and veggies and freeze for later use.
- Fruit cups in syrup– Nothing ruins the nutritional value and original texture of fruit than soaking it in sugary syrup and packaging it. Packaging in water or 100% juice are acceptable alternatives to sweetened fruit cups, but buying fruit in season and using frozen unsweetened fruit are economical alternatives to fresh fruit.
- Canned meats– highly processed and typically high in fat and sodium. Canned fish in water is an acceptable alternative.
- Chips (of all varieties)- puffed, fried, or kettle cooked, they are all full of empty calories and are easy to overeat. They are hard to avoid in many other situations, like parties but not bringing them into your own house will automatically limit your exposure.
- Hot dogs- Although they are a choking hazard to little ones, I can’t serve them more so due to their high fat, sodium, and processed content.
- Packaged desserts- store bought cookies, cupcakes, and other baked goods generally contain trans fats and loads of sugar. Making treats at home is a great alternative for many reasons, you control the ingredients, baking and bonding with your children in the kitchen, and you can limit the frequency of availability.
You may or may not agree with with some of the items on the list and may even be regularly serving some of these in your own home. This list isn’t meant to scare you or impose rules in your house, simply to share information with you and give you some insight into the households of nutrition experts. For the record, its not that we have never had these items before, I just simply do not buy them while grocery shopping as not to have them available and tempting in our house.
To read the full article, go here.