Unless you have a magazine coming in on a regular basis, like an Eating Well subscription, you may not be getting regular tips on healthy eating. Sometimes there are foods that we think are a part of a healthy balanced diet, but are secretly just as bad as the obviously poor choices. Rather than subscribing to a magazine, you should make the change to an eating well subscription for your life.
More importantly, change what your kids are eating. They are the future, and you want to set them up for healthy habits as early as possible. Below you will find a list of the five worst foods to throw in your kids’ school lunch, and the healthy alternatives.
1. Fruit Snacks. Alternative – Real Fruit
Even when they say “Made With Real Fruit!” on the box, those things are absolutely full of sugar. Fruit snacks are the number one cause for tooth decay in young kids, actually beating out soda. If you introduce fruit into your kids’ lives early on and regularly, it will not be a chore to get them to eat it.
2. Packaged Desserts. Alternative – Home Made.
Prefab desserts are packed with sugar, and the leading source of trans fats, the worst kind. By making your own, you control the amount of everything that goes in. You can find healthy recipe alternatives for any type of dessert out there, and you can better control portions by packing your own.
3. Juice Boxes. Alternative – Fresh Squeezed.
“Juice” is a very loose term. They should be called Humming Bird Food Boxes. They are pure sugar, tons of high fructose corn syrup, and have no nutritional value whatsoever. For a special treat, make your own fresh squeezed juice. You do not have to add anything but the juice, and the kids can make their own fun mixes to get excited.
4. Crackers. Alternative – Pita or Naan.
Crackers are often empty calories, with no nutrients. And they are usually fried or covered in unnecessary oil to boot. By cutting up 100% whole grain pitas or naan, you can give them the right portions and make sure they are not getting any preservatives at all.
5. Lunch Meats. Alternative – Cook Your Own.
If you have to send your kid with a meat sandwich, avoid the prepackaged gunk. Buy your own natural, preservative free meats, cook and then slice them on your own. Or, better yet, your kid does not need to be eating so much meat in the first place. Send them with some extra veggies instead.
Your kids will learn their eating habits from you. They will see what you eat, what you automatically reach for, and they will also learn what is standard fare just by what you feed them on a regular basis. Teach them the right way, early on, and get them started on a path to dietary success and a lifelong eating well subscription.