A quick scan of any toddler’s playground or mums enjoying a mid-morning break at the local coffee shop will see any array of brightly coloured snack food packs being fed to small children in an attempt to keep them quiet, for a few minutes at least. What always surprises me is that popular snacks for small children are often quite unhealthy choices, particularly when you consider that they are being fed to very small children. Here are some of the most popular kid’s snacks, and the reasons they are the worst snacks for kids.
Marketed as a nutritious calcium rich choice for children the majority of major brands on the market contain added sugars, which is completely unnecessary for young children. For this reason, sweet yoghurt is much better replaced with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit to help stop kids getting a taste for the sweet stuff.
It does not matter which brand it is, purees only need to be consumed by infants aged 6-7 months. Once infants and toddlers can chew, fruit purees simply serve as a concentrated source of sugars minus the fibre and bulk factor of whole pieces of cut up fruit.
Any plain sweet biscuit is a poor choice of snack food for a young child. A mix of refined white flour, sugar and oil, often palm oil you may as well give your child a chocolate bar for the nutrition that a sweet biscuit offers a growing child.
They may seem to be a plain, relatively healthy snack choice but refined white rice has an exceptionally high GI which makes this snack about as nutritious as a slice of white bread.
This one should come as no surprise – small packets of chocolate flavoured biscuits are a high fat food that should be considered in the same category as lollies.
Concentrated fruit sugars may appear to be a more nutritious option that other processed snacks but with a 40g box containing close to 30g of sugars, kids are always better to get their fibre and vitamins from fresh fruits.
While they may be labelled as 100% fruit, they remain a concentrated source of sugars for a relatively small volume of food. They also lack the fibre of whole fruit and are a nightmare for the teeth as young children can suck on them for relatively long periods of time.
With an ingredient list like this – ‘Fruit and Fruit Juice , Muesli , Rice Flour , Sugar , Honey , Yoghurt Coating , Maize Starch , Skim Milk Powder , Citrus Fibre ‘ – it is safe to say that no toddler needs a muesli bar that contains refined flours and a number of added sugars when they are so young.