We’re all trying to raise healthy kids. We have them in athletics to help them build physical strength and endurance, push them to play outside and stay active in their daily lives, and spend the time and money to feed them nutritious foods. But is what we’re feeding them truly nutritious?
If you’re sticking with pure fruits and vegetables and lean meats, you’re something of a hero in my eyes. Truth be told, I try to stick mostly in that realm… but some days, you just need to grab and go or get dinner ready in a hurry – and when that happens, pantry staples become my best friend. The problem is, that there are so many products marketed as being nutritious or even downright healthy… but when you dig into the ingredients list and labels, they’re anything but. Here are three of the top offenders:
#1 – Dried fruits
Pretty much the healthiest snack you can get is a piece of fruit, right? So why not mix it up with dried fruit… it’s delicious, travel-friendly since it’s not messy, and nutritious… except that it’s not. If you can find truly plain dried fruit, enjoy to your heart’s content! But, unfortunately, most dried fruits that you can buy at the grocery store or warehouse club have added ingredients with added sugar topping the list. If it’s a preserved dried fruit, you shouldn’t find any more than two ingredients max: the fruit and possibly a lemon juice or citric acid for preservation purposes. If there are more ingredients than that, pop it back on the shelf.
#2 – Veggie pasta
Pasta is easy, and veggie pastas maintain that simplicity while sneaking a full serving of healthy goodness into your kids diet! However, the term “veggie pasta” is a bit misleading. It’s true that the serving of vegetables is in there… however, you’ll still find the starchy white carbs that make up most pastas, which kind of defeats the purpose. If you hit the health food section, you can likely find pure black bean or edamame noodles or even lentil noodles that give a healthier alternative to the refined wheat in regular noodles. Even whole wheat pasta is a healthier option.
#3 – Granola
Granola has earned quite a bit of shelf space in the nutritional markets, which works out well because it’s delicious and has so many varieties that you’ll never get bored! It tops Greek yogurt beautifully for an easy, healthy meal and is perfect for little fingers at snack time. However, it’s often not as healthy as we’d like to believe. Always check the label: Most store-bought granola is loaded with added sugar that comes in the double digits per serving. And that healthy snack often rings in at nearly 200 calories per serving which, in many cases, is just ¼ cup! Opt for a no-sugar added version or, better yet, stick to making it at home.