It may be easy to reach for one of these foods when your child is hungry, but have you ever really thought about what’s inside those processed convenience foods targeted at kids? Flip those colorful cartooned packages over and you’ll find almost as many artificial colors lurking in the ingredients. That list of ingredients is a long and confusing jumble of chemicals and carcinogens, like what you’ll find in these 10 foods below. Let’s take a closer look at what effect these foods are having on your child’s health, along with alternative choices you can make to safeguard their future.
Disclosure: Bookieboo LLC has an affiliate relationship with Thrive Market, and works with a large number of brands in the organic and natural foods sector, including Stonyfield, Organic Valley, Nature’s Path, and Applegate
1. Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish
These fishies are a pantry staple in many homes with kids. I admit, I grew up on them myself. They appear healthy with a label that totes whole grain, real cheddar, and no artificial preservatives. However, a look at the ingredient list shows just why these unnaturally orange snack crackers should stay off of your child’s plate.
Enriched wheat flour might sound good, but it means so many natural nutrients were stripped away in this processed flour that things have to be added back in. The iron added is a metallic form that our bodies just can’t absorb fully. As for the folic acid, research now shows that the fortification of foods with folic acid is linked to cancer.Moving on to the cheddar cheese–it’s not organic. That means the cows ate a diet of genetically modified grains and then produced milk for the cheese. We’ve already discussed the dangers of GMOs and the importance of organic dairy. Conventional dairy may also contain rbST, another Monsanto product. The cows are injected with this genetically engineered hormone to stimulate milk production. It’s already banned in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. The use of rbST in turn causes other health problems, such as mastitis, that need further treatment with antibiotics. This increases antibiotic resistance, a dangerous problem which is then passed on to humans. These are all reasons enough to flush these fish, and this is only the third ingredient. That cheese also contains annatto as a coloring agent. Although it’s from a natural source, the seeds of the achiote bush, annatto has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome.
Finally, the vegetable oils. Unlike olive or coconut oils that are extracted from pressing, vegetable oils are made in a very unnatural way. The oils are heated to unsafe temperatures, oxidized and then treated with petroleum solvents. Then the oil is treated with chemicals to make the color and odor of the oil more pleasant. On top of that, they are also made from GMO crops like corn and soy.
Better Alternative- Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies
These certified organic and Non-GMO project verified snacks are an easy swap out to the familiar fish. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies do contain organic annatto extract. Annatto is actually found in most crackers.
Best Alternative- Mary’s Gone Crackers
One of my favorite crackers, these are free of all the ingredients to avoid listed above. They too are certified organic and Non-GMO project verified. Mary’s Gone Crackers are made from organic brown rice, quinoa, and seeds, so they are also gluten free.