Every parent knows that life with the kids can be hectic. In between rushing out the door for school, hurriedly packing lunches, and grabbing a quick dinner before soccer practice, some snacks and meals are just more convenient than others. But, with convenience sometimes comes a lack of nutrition. Finding the right balance of meals and snacks for your children can be difficult, but it is important to know that some items are better off as occasional treats that daily occurrences. Here are some food and drinks that are best given to your youngsters every once in awhile, or should be taken off the table completely.
Apple Juice/Juice Boxes
Most juice boxes and pouches made for children are essentially just sugar. Your kids will drink the liquid, get a sugar rush, and then eventually crash. Apple juice is specifically given to children more often because there can be the assumption that is it healthier than other juices, such as orange, grape, or cherry.
However, this is an incorrect assumption. Even apple juices that are labeled “100 percent apple juice” can have up to 160 calories per cup. In short, the drink is made almost entirely of fructose. When looking for juices for your children be wary of labels claiming they are filled with Vitamin C or minerals. Read labels carefully to see the true amount of nutrients, or lack thereof within drinks.
Gummy fruit snacks are in fact, just sugar. You should view them simply as candy. Labels on these boxes claim that these snacks are “made with real fruit”, but the reality is far from this. Any fruity taste that comes from these treats is the result of more added sugar. Instead, if you want to give your kids a fruity, chewy snack, give them real dried fruit.
This sugary liquid is best avoided, as there are several studies that link soda to obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, despite these findings it seems that a large majority of American children still drink these sugary drinks regularly. Just one 20-ounce bottle of soda can have over 60 grams of sugar.
This may not seem like a lot, but this is about four times the amount of what children should be having in one day. In addition, depending on the fountain drink of choice, there may be even more sugar in each serving. Soda adds no nutritional value to your child’s diet, and only supplies empty calories that should be used elsewhere in their daily diet.
The packaging of granola bars can make them seem as though they are a healthy snack. However, most bars are simply full of sugar, and giving them to your children could just as easily represent you giving them a bar of candy. This is not to say that you have to abandon granola bars entirely. They are a convenient on the go snack for your kids. Just be sure to check the ingredients list. Healthier granola bars will contain real nuts and fruit, and have little to no high-fructose corn syrup or sugars. Also, beware of labels that claim their granola bars are full of protein or fiber- they may in fact, offer very little of either.
Neighbors Emergency Center supports you and your families healthy lifestyle! Remember, Neighbors Emergency Center is open 24/7- even during the holidays! We currently have two new locations that have just opened. Our new El Paso center is located at 12101 Edgemere Blvd., El Paso TX 79938, and the new Port Arthur center is located at 3330 Hwy., Port Arthur, TX 77642. We hope you have a safe and healthy holiday season!