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Pre-packaged Kids' Food: The 11 Worst Offenders

By brooklynsupper |

As my two kids get older, I’m starting to feel like there are fewer and fewer moments in the day. I’m also feeling like feeding them both is a full time job all by itself. So, I’ve started wondering about some common convenience, pre-packaged foods — are they healthy for my kids? For some foods, the answer is yes. But there are also a lot of surprisingly unhealthy options out there. Hidden salt, sugar, and trans fat abounds, not to mention lengthy lists of unpronounceable chemical ingredients. Just because the food industry wants our kids to eat this stuff, doesn’t mean they should. Below the jump are 11 of the worst pre-packaged kids’ food offenders.

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Your Kid's Eating WHAT?! 11 Shockingly Unhealthy Kids' Foods

Cheese and Sandwich Crackers

Cheese-flavored and sandwich crackers can seem like a satisfying and quick snack option, but beware -- even a single serving of these little crackers can have nearly 15 percent of the DV for fat and almost 10 percent of the DV for sodium, and many are loaded with trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and artificial dyes. Next time you kiddo needs a quick snack, put a slice of real cheese to a whole grain cracker with plenty of fiber.
Make your own whole grain cheese crackers
Image: Dwight Burdette

Image: Tim Skillern

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About brooklynsupper

brooklynsupper

brooklynsupper

Elizabeth Stark and Brian Campbell write the blog Brooklyn Supper, dedicated to seasonal ingredients and wholesome home cooking. Read bio and latest posts → Read Elizabeth's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “Pre-packaged Kids' Food: The 11 Worst Offenders

  1. Jennifer says:

    I make my own smoothies and my son loves them. I use 2 cups of frozen fruit or fresh fruit and freeze it myself or a combination of both, 3 TBS of organic yogurt that I freeze in 1 TBS portions and 1 cup almond milk. The freezing of fruit and yogurt make it so I don’t have to add ice. :) Also helps get in some servings of fruit everyday.

  2. brooklynsupper says:

    Hi Jennifer, I’ve never thought to freeze the yogurt — that’s a great idea! We keep unpeeled, over-ripe bananas in our freezer for smoothie making.

  3. Kacy Brown says:

    Do you have a list of quick pick up foods that are okay to get, that don’t cost a ton?

  4. Guajolote says:

    Um… where’s the surprise? I don’t eat any of these things and I would tear a family member a new one if they snuck them to my kid.

  5. Heather says:

    We make our own smoothies as well, freeze the fruit. Watermelon is my daughters favorite and you can get a big melon for cheap!
    Also make our own chicken nuggets.
    We make our own granola for breakfast cereal and mini muffins for breakfast, diary free (milk allergies) with whole wheat flour and agave insted of sugar, my daughter rarley is at all eats anything off this list thank goodness!
    And its not that expensive to eat healty, I mean i don’t know where you live but cookie crisp and cheeze its are near $4 a box here! I can get a ton of oatmeal for that price!

  6. Kristina says:

    How was any of that surprising?

  7. K says:

    Why aren’t you listing specific brands here? There are brands that are really bad (like Kraft mac and cheese) and brands that are much better (like Aunt Annie’s Organic mac and cheese). Same with chicken nuggets. There are organic brands that are made with real chicken, like Trader Joe’s or Applegate Farms.

    This article would have been informative if it was more specific…

  8. bwsf says:

    Yes, another call for brand names. If you don’t buy conventional brands, I’m pretty sure you avoid most of this? I also think it’s pointless to tell parents that feeding their kids sugary foods is bad, we are all aware of that. But if once in a while we want to allow them a bowl of sugary cereal, it’s not going to kill them.

  9. Guajolote says:

    They can’t give brand names. Have you read practically any other post on babble lately? They are all sponsored and use the sponsored posts to do nothing more than shill for the sponsoring companies. Wendy’s, Cool Whip, Huggies.

  10. Angie says:

    A great, easy no-sugar added option for the yogurt smoothies is just to mix fruit and vegetable juice (like V8 fusion or Naked brand) with an equal part of plain yogurt. Put in a water bottle and shake or just stir with a spoon, no blender to clean!

  11. brooklynsupper says:

    @Heather and @Angie, love the smoothie recipes! Keep ‘em coming!
    @Kacy, Check out this post on Self’s healthy food awards: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2012/05/17/selfs-2012-healthy-food-awards-healthy-food-choices-made-easy/ They have a lot of pre-packaged foods that are pretty healthy options.
    @K, BWSF, If it helps, the links with nutrition data do refer to specific brands. And not all “healthy” brands are good. I use sites like Fresh Direct (where nutrition data is easily clickable) to check out labels and research healthy options before I head to the store.

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