The ability to make smart food choices at a young age is greatly influenced by the kind of food kids see at home. As parents, it is our responsibility to create a nutritional environment which promotes healthy eating habits. It is extremely important to ensure the food the child is eating is of high nutritional quality. We need to avoid foods with “empty calories” which means they are high in calories from fat and sugar, but low in nutritional benefits.
Another significant issue which could lead to child obesity and related health problems is “portion control.” There are foods and drinks that are more difficult than others to stop eating or drinking once you start. That’s why it is important to not bring them home in the first place.
This doesn’t mean you can never eat these 5 foods again. You and your family can have them on special occasions such as parties, holidays and birthdays. Just don’t have them in your house on a regular basis, because that’s when they become a problem.
What are the top 5 foods and drinks you shouldn’t bring into your home?
Be honest. How can you stop eating after only one slice of pizza?!! Pizza is one of the most popular foods among children, teens, and adults. Pizza is high in calories, salt and fat. Many times pizza is an easy family meal or part of “playdate” when friends visit. If you know your kids (and you) can’t stop after one slice, try to reduce the frequency with which you have pizza at your house. One slice of pizza contains 250-500 calories, depend on the toppings. So, it’s best to not bring it home very often.
Crunchy sticks of fried potatoes…YUMMY! French fries are one of the most common junk foods found all over the world. They are high in calories which come from fat and are usually served with tons of salt, mayo and ketchup. Most of the time, they are treated as a “side dish,” but don’t let them fool you. They could have more calories than the main dish!!! A serving of French fries contains 300-550 calories, depending on the portion size. When you start eating, you will want more!
Salty snacks are some of the hardest things to stop eating for any age group. Salty chips from potatoes or tortillas are a snack that you eat when you watch TV, watch sports games, meet with friends and even when you feel bored. They are crunchy, salty and make you feel as though you are just having a small snack. Again, they are not the main part of the meal, but the number of empty calories they contain is huge! They usually come in large packages (more than what a child’s portion should be) with bright colors which are very appealing to children. One bag of chips, up to 200g per package, could contain more than 1,000 calories!!! Get them out of your house!
Sweetened drinks such as soda drinks are considered to be one of the biggest problems when it comes to childhood obesity. One can of soda contains 6-8 teaspoons of sugar (120-160 calories). A large bottle of soda can contain up to 60 teaspoons of sugar! The best thing to drink is water, but don’t expect your child to drink water when there are soda drinks in the house. Keep them out!
Many kids eat doughnuts as part of their breakfast, at school or just as a quick snack during the day. Doughnuts are junk food. They are fried in deep oil, then covered with sugar and colorful toppings, frosting and glaze. Yes, they are relatively cheap to buy, but the number of calories they contain (and the price to your health) is very high! One doughnut contains 200-400 calories, depend on the size and topping, and all of them are empty calories from fat and sugar. Don’t let them in!
|Yael Dror is a Pediatric Nutritionist. She holds a Master’s degree in Physiology from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and most importantly, Yael is a mother of 3 active children. Yael is a former professional athlete and is a co-founder of Habitz.|