If you regularly stock your kitchen with any of these, you are your child’s worst enemy
Kiddie meals at restaurants
Because: They aren’t ‘kiddie’ in size
If you were to investigate the making of kiddie meals at restaurants, you’ll realise that some pack in as many calories as a full day’s requirements. Besides, most options come loaded with saturated fat and sodium. That they come in standardised portions, whether it’s a three-yearold eating it or a nine-year-old, the portion size is the same. Instead, get imaginative. Order an adult main and split it between three kids, or order a healthy appetiser as a main. Ask the steward if sandwiches or pastas can be made with whole wheat options.
Because: It’s a powerhouse of calories
We tend to be conscious of calories we consume in foods rather than through drinks. It’s just the quirky way in which the human mind works. And so, a whole pizza, we might not let our babies gorge on but a tall glass of strawberry smoothie that possibly packs in over 500 calories, we are okay with. That’s what your kid should be consuming in an entire meal. The best advice we can give you? Pay attention to portions. If they must have a milkshake, make sure it’s a ‘small’. It’s easy for kids to guzzle large quantities that can contribute to weight gain in the long run. Choose smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit with ice or plain yoghurt.
Because: They are loaded with sugar
Most people believe that granola bars are the best health food but several varieties contain ingredients that make it worse than a dessert. Read the packaging carefully. Bars that contain two grams of fibre and less than 10 gm of sugar, are better. Those that say ‘none’ in the saturated fat, artificial sweetener and fructose corn syrup columns are even better.
Because: It’s got artificial colour
Yoghurt is always listed as a health food for its high protein and calcium content. But the sweetened, flavoured varieties that come in single-portion tubs come loaded with artificial colour, and no less than 25 grams of sugar. How about buying low fat curd and flavouring it with fresh fruit?
Because: It has zero nutrition
This snack is possibly a favourite of every child, and mother considering it’s a no brainer option mommies reach out to when their kids say they are hungry. The thing is, noodles have practically no nutrients and are high in fat and sodium. Nutritional experts say kids aged two to three should have no more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium a day, and those under eight should restrict it to 1,200 mg. But a one-cup serving of packaged noodles or macaroni and cheese contains over 500 grams of sodium.
Because: It’s a recipe for cavities
Just because it says ‘fruit’, doesn’t mean it’s nutritious. Fruit gummies are loaded with sugar, even if the pack claims they pack in Vitamin C. Worse, they are a disaster for your tot’s teeth, since they are sticky. Fresh fruit is best of course. Pick varieties that a kid is likelier to dig — mangoes over apples.
Cheese (An overload)
Because: It’s fat-heavy
This one, you’ll argue, is a good source of protein, but we say, watch the portions. One slice of cheese contains over 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. Several mommies offer it as a mid-day snack because their child won’t eat anything else. Stop it. Also, resist shrouding his pasta or bake with cheese to make it appetising. The daily recommended dairy intake for a kid aged two to three years is two cups, and 2.5 cups for those aged four to eight. Pick up low-fat cheese when shopping at the supermarket.