My kids are very healthy eaters and eat a primarily, whole-foods, plant-based diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. They also eat some pretty surprising foods picky eating adults won’t even touch.
Like any kid, I don’t deprive them of ice cream, candy, and some processed, packaged foods but it’s always in moderation.
Call me a mean mom or too uptight, but there are some foods that they’ve never eaten or rarely eat because their health is just too important.
My kids love juice boxes and juice pouches and would love to drink them everyday but the only time they do is when there’s a kid’s birthday party, which only happens a few times a year. Orange juice, a seemingly healthy choice but actually packed with sugar, is something they don’t have at home and only on rare occasions like when we visit distant relatives.
2. Hot Dogs
My two kids have probably eaten hot dogs less than 5 times—combined. And it wasn’t in my home.
Hot dogs are one of the worst foods you can feed your kids and other than protein, I can’t think of any other redeeming nutritional value whatsoever. They’re processed, contain nitrates and are high in saturated fat. Take a look at how hot dogs are really made and you’ll probably swear them off forever too.
3. Chocolate Milk
I still cannot understand why schools think chocolate milk is a healthy option for kids. Sure, it has calcium and protein, but the sugar content is way too high: a 1/2 cup of low-fat chocolate milk has nearly 25 grams of sugar as much as a chocolate bar! The handful of times my kids had chocolate milk, they knew it was a treat.
4. Sugary Cereals
Don’t get me wrong—my kids have certainly asked for Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs. They may have tasted a few bites when they made edible craft projects at school but I refuse to purchase them.
Most cereals (“kids” or otherwise) are high in sugar, even those that claim to be healthy because they have added protein, whole grains, real fruit, nuts and seeds. In fact, most are not much better than those cereals with food coloring, marshmallows and chocolate.
5. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
My kids live on water so anytime they’ve tried soda (maybe once or twice), they actually didn’t like it.
That’s fine by me because soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, sports and energy drinks are linked to weight gain, childhood obesity, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes and cavities. Plus, sugar-sweetened beverages cater to a child’s sweet tooth so the more they drink it, the more they’ll want it.
6. Frozen Kids Meals
Frozen kids meals are highly processed, high in sugar, sodium, saturated fats and preservatives, not to mention they taste completely artificial and gross. My goal has always been for my kids to eat real food so these have never made their way into my kitchen.
Have my kids eaten chicken nuggets? Sure, but I made my own healthy version.
7. Fruit snacks
Just like sugary cereals, the handful of gummy fruit snacks my kids have eaten were from school. These fruit snacks are heavily marketed to kids and their parents who think they’re a healthy option. Yet read the label and you’ll see that they’re actually made of fruit puree (not real fruit), corn syrup, sugar and artificial flavors and colors—something I don’t want my kids to eat.
One of my kids ate a package of these highly-processed snack packs once at a rest stop while we were on a long road trip and I was the one who felt sick to my stomach. Of course, she loved it but she’ll never have it again. These packages of fake food are filled with preservatives, artificial coloring and flavors, trans fat and nitrates—all ingredients that have no place in a kid’s body.