Foods You Shouldn’t Give Your Children and What They Should Eat Instead
Summer is finally here, well almost, and with exams ending in another month or so, children will be free to run riot, play, and travel. Summer is also the time when they get the leeway to eat to their heart’s content certain foods, something they are barred from eating during the academic year.
While there are several foods that children will eat during the summer, most of these might not be healthy for them. Here’s a list of foods that children will love gorge in summer which might not be necessarily good for them. The list of foods mentioned here is applicable during other times as well.
Artificial Juices, Fruit Juices, Colas, Sports Drinks
Summer is the time when children spend most of their day playing outdoors. To compensate for the loss of water during the brutal Indian summers and to keep themselves hydrated, they drink a lot of packed juices including artificial juices, fruit juices, colas, and sports drinks. All these contain heavy amounts of calories and artificial sweeteners or sugar which are bad for your children’s health. Packed fruit juices may taste good but contain preservatives. While soda and sports drinks are even worse.
Instead, give your child fruit juice made at home. Make a nice thick mango juice or fresh orange juice. Alternatively, make a tasty mango lassi or any juice at home. Don’t add sugar. You will also never go wrong with coconut water, buttermilk, or lemon juice, or just water.
- Ice creams and frozen desserts
While ice creams and frozen desserts are everywhere during summer, one must avoid eating them for two main reasons: both ice creams and frozen desserts contain preservatives and artificial colours and flavours. While frozen desserts are made from vegetable oils which are unhealthy for your children.
Instead, you can make your own fruit ice cream from fruit pulp by freezing it. You can also make tasty and delicious dry fruit and milk kulfi. The internet is full of healthy ice cream and kulfi recipes.
Honey is the only food with eternal shelf life and is also known as an elixir of life. No matter how nutritious it is, honey might contain toxic bacteria that can cause an illness called infant botulism. Most honey you see in the shop shelves are not local but processed in some other place. While your body gets used to the air, water, and food of the place where you live. This means your body is immune to local viruses and bacteria. However, as the honey is made from nectars of different flowers in another area, your child’s body might not be immune to the bacteria that are in the honey processed elsewhere.
Infant botulism affects children’s developing immune systems causing muscle weakness and breathing problems.
Children older than 1 year can eat honey, but if you want to give them something sweet, give them fruits that are naturally sweet such as bananas, mangoes, melons, dates, figs, pineapples, apples, and red grapes.
- Canned fruits and meats
Today’s Indian’s have travelled a lot and are aware of the benefits of tinned fruits, beans, and meats. These are available in plenty across most supermarkets and online stores today and people prefer them for convenience. However, they are unhealthy as they contain chemicals to artificially preserve them and which can affect the development of the children, their reproductive systems, and brains. According to new research, these preservatives can also cause cancer. Instead, chop a fresh tomato or cucumber. Buy a pineapple and slice it fresh or just juice it.
- Chewing and bubble gum
As summer approaches, children love to put chewing gums or bubble gums while playing or just like that. While they are okay for adults, they are a strict no-no for children. Firstly both chewing gums and bubble gums contain artificial sugar that can cause harm to their teeth. While the sugarfree gums contain substitutes which can cause severe health issues in children. however, the biggest issue with gums is not sugar, it’s the choking hazard caused by accidentally swallowing it. Replace gums with carrots, cucumbers, fruits, or even dry fruits.
- Potato Chips
Children of all ages love potato chips, but they are not a healthier option and certainly not an alternative to anything. They are deep-fried and contain high amounts of salts, which are bad for children. Children love to gorge on chips while in front of the TV or while watching a match, however, they must stay away completely away from it. Too much salt can cause problems like hypertension or high BP. They can also cause obesity. They are as dangerous, if not as much dangerous, as sugary snacks.
- Junk food
You must have promised your child a pizza or burger treat in summer at one of those pizza or burger stores. Stop as these junk food can be dangerous. While the companies claim the toppings, sauces, and cheeses are only sourced from the best supplier, you really cannot trust this.
Instead, make these at home. Good quality and branded pizza base, sauces, toppings, and cheeses are available at stores across the country. Just buy those and make a delicious pizza at home for your child to enjoy.
According to studies, fast food addiction has become a worldwide health issue and researchers are raising a red flag about the health issues caused by fast food addiction such as obesity, early diabetes, and others.
Summer is usually the time when children love to eat out or eat junk because they know that they will be discouraged from eating once school starts. However, now is the time to give them a healthier choice of food. Firstly you have a lot of free time as you don’t have to spend time preparing your child for school. Secondly, encouraging your child to eat healthy at this age will only make their lives healthy and better.