You may not know it, but you’re actually feeding your child junk food. Based on new research that was published in the Pediatrics journal, researchers discovered that 72% of grab n’ go toddler foods have high sodium content. Meanwhile, 32% of toddler food products, including savory snacks and fruit based meals contain high amounts of sugar.
The study focused on Gladson Nutrition Database, Target, Costco, Wal-Mart, and other grocers in which over 1000 products were analyzed. Parents should now know that even though the products were geared toward children, this does not mean they are healthy and safe. When regularly given to young kids, their taste buds will be affected as they grow up.
Products to Avoid
The researchers took a look at prepackaged foods for babies, but they excluded milk, yogurt, infant formulas, and juices that claim they have no added sugars. Out of the 657 products studied, there were 655 of them with less than 140 mg of salt for every serving. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this number is still considered low when it comes to sodium.
There are also a number of infant products that do not contain sugar, but it is important that parents avoid mixed grain products that are ready to serve as well as fruit products for young children. This is because 52% of those that have been studied contained at least one type of sugar. Meanwhile, 44% of them have at least 35% of calories that come from sugar.
Unfortunately, toddler dinners, along with their snacks, come with high salt content. Savory snacks that your child may be fond of can have an average of 496 mg of sodium concentration for every 100 grams. What’s even more devastating is that the snacks and dinners that have savory tastes have high sugars. This is actually surprising because a lot of food products are not sweet at all, including the prepackaged macaroni and cheese and chicken and pasta.
What You Can Do as a Parent
You already know that your child can be very picky and he or she may not want to eat anything that is not sweet or salty. However, it is important that you are firm in making sure that your child eats healthy. Neutral foods, including fruits and vegetables, may not be palatable for them, but when you serve them with such foods at least eight times, they could develop a taste for them.