Who doesn’t love a good snack that’ll tickle the tummy when you’re feeling peckish? As harmless as some snacks seem, they may be hiding ingredients that are unhealthy and can harm our little ones. You’d be surprised to see this list of unhealthy snacks that your little ones should not be ingesting, we’ve also added alternatives you can follow instead!
Even though regular yoghurt is a great and healthy addition in a child’s diet, kids’ yoghurt is the complete opposite. The artificial colours and the sugar contained in those yoghurts are unhealthy for kids and aren’t at all beneficial. Many food dyes have been banned, while others can cause allergic reactions in kids or possibly trigger hyperactivity and other types of adverse behaviour. Instead, you can buy regular yoghurt and sweeten it using honey if your kid is older than one. You can also use raisins or frozen fruit.
Microwave popcorn is another famous and quick flavourful choice for kids’ snacks. However, few may be aware that the bags used in microwave popcorn can release dangerous chemicals. They contain perfluorinated chemicals, that are also used in fast-food wrapping paper, and when heated on high, they emit compounds in the process that can be potentially harmful to children’s development and are even linked to cancer. Easily make your very own homemade popcorn by heating some kernels in a pan with a little bit of olive oil on the stove top. It only takes about 5-7 minutes and tastes scrumptious.
This might sound surprising, but honey, a generally highly-nutritious food, can be extremely dangerous for toddlers younger than one — no matter whether it’s raw or highly processed. A toxic bacteria contained in honey can cause an illness called infant botulism that affects kids underdeveloped immune systems and can lead to muscle weakness and breathing problems. In the United States alone 100 cases of infant botulism happen every year. After the age of 1, kids can eat honey and it’s actually very good for them. Before that age, smashed fruits are a good option as a source of vitamins and natural sweetness.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a toxic element found in many packaging materials like plastic, but in higher amounts, it can be detected in cans, a lot of which is also emitted in the food contained in the cans. This dangerous element can affect the development of the child, their reproductive system, and their brain, and it is also linked to cancer. So, when you decide to make pasta with tomato sauce, look for a glass jar in the supermarket or better yet, use fresh chopped tomatoes.
Rice Bars & Rice Cereal
This might come as a huge surprise since most children usually eat rice and rice-based products. According to the FDA, infants might be possibly exposed to high levels of inorganic arsenic (yes, the poisonous substance) through rice-based products like kids’ rice cereal. Because we feed them things like rice cereal, the rice intake for infants is 3 times higher than for adults, which can harm their learning ability and their overall development. You can try making some fruit bars which are full of vitamins, buying cereal made of oats or quinoa, or even making your own healthy snack oat bars.
Chewing gum is a no-no for kiddos in so many ways. First, because most gums contain high amounts of sugar and this can harm their teeth, causing cavities. While some of the sugar-free options might contain sorbitol, which can cause diarrhoea. But what’s dangerous is accidentally swallowing gum. This can be a choking hazard and if the child swallows a large piece of it or a lot of small ones continuously, it can cause a block in the digestive system. Chewing gum isn’t at all beneficial for kids, so it’s better to avoid it completely and replace it with chewing vegetables as snacks, like carrots, cucumbers, and other healthy alternatives. If you choose to allow chewing gum, try to find the ones made with xylitol.
Potato chips are for sure a salty delight for every kid, but they are not a healthy snack option. They’re high in fat, calories, and salt, all the things’ kids should avoid consuming because they are bad for them. Too much salt can cause several problems from hypertension or high blood pressure to kidney stones. Also, salty foods might lead to obesity since they are as dangerous as sugary snacks. If your kid loves potato chips — and who doesn’t really! — you can easily make your own by baking potato slices in the oven, or even better, try making sweet potato chips for a richer flavour.