Foods marketed towards kids today are extremely unhealthy. They are loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, and hydrogenated fats. Too often kids eat mostly high carbohydrate, nutrient-insufficient foods. Kids do not drink enough water; they mostly consume fruit juices and sodas. The high carbohydrate diets and excessive juice and soda (even pure fruit juice) lead to tooth decay, immune system dysfunction, growth hormone suppression, and insulin resistance. Many kids today have already started developing signs of cardiovascular disease due to their poor diets, and yeah, they’re getting fat.
Contrary to popular belief, fluoride is no longer considered an essential nutrient, no matter what most dentists want you to think. Most people get the natural fluoride they need for cavity protection everyday in foods such as seafood, chicken, tea, and most [natural] drinking water. Fluoride has been shown to increase bone loss, impair thyroid function, and alter pancreatic enzymes.
Kids should eat a healthy diet comparable to what a healthy adult should eat. When dining out, have your child choose something from the adult menu or share some of your food with them. Vegetables, whole grains, proteins (meats & eggs), and natural fats and oils are essential for kids, and are not found in that chicken fingers and french fries meal.
Kids need to eat breakfast. Eggs, natural meats (bacon, sausage), fruit & protein smoothies, whole grain pancakes, fruits, natural yogurt and granola are excellent choices. Make sure they are getting some protein in the morning to keep them alert all day long. For example, if you are going to give them pancakes, make them with some pure whey protein, and/or add lots of free-range eggs and go easy on the [pure] maple syrup. Use only natural butter, not margarine. Vary their diet so they don’t eat the same thing everyday.
Good snacks throughout the day for kids include fruits, vegetable sticks, natural cheeses, whole grain non-hydrogenated crackers, nuts & seeds, and whole food nutrition bars.
Don’t rely on school lunches to be healthy; they’re some of the worst foods available. Pack a nutrient-dense lunch for your child with items such as turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread, fruits, yogurts, etc…
This doesn’t mean that your child can’t have “junk food”. It just needs to be “healthy” junk food. That means cookies, cakes, crackers, and other foods that contain natural sugars, no hydrogenated fats, and no dyes, colors, or preservatives. These are readily available at any health food store or you can make them yourself. Just because you’re shopping at a health food store doesn’t mean everything is good for you. Moderation is key; keep the sugar intake low and eliminate the bad fats and artificial ingredients.
Lastly, your child may be resistant to eating healthy, but they will not starve. Be as creative as possible and stick to your [new] guidelines. Eventually they will eat something other than just french fries or mac-n’-cheese.