Avoiding the Additives

As a mom of three I know how difficult it can be to keep the processed foods out of the cabinets. I do my best to make sure the healthy options outnumber the processed choices but compromise on some items for the sake of peace and happiness.

There are several items that appear in the ingredients of the majority of processed foods that I would recommend avoiding if possible.

Artificial Colors and Flavors: manufacturers use artificial colors to enhance the look of their products. Many of these can be linked to allergic reactions, which can lead to symptoms like fatigue, hyperactivity and headaches.

Artificial Sweeteners: many “diet” foods contain chemically-derived artificial sweeteners to reduce the caloric content of the food, however, fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. As an “artificial” product your body has difficulty processing the substance and ultimately it can have a negative impact on your metabolism.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): this has become a cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar and is often used to maintain freshness in baked goods. While it is derived from corn it is so highly processed that your body doesn’t digest it like normal food. Regular consumption of HFCS can lead to obesity, type 2-diabetes and high cholesterol.

Hydrogenated Oils: these are industrially created fats – yuck! They are often used because they are cheaper than other oils. The true danger is they contain high levels of trans fats, which can lead to a raise in bad cholesterol levels and heart disease.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): many restaurants use MSG to enhance the flavors of their foods and as a result stimulate appetites. The side affects of MSG may be headaches, nausea and weakness.

Refined Grains: if you see the words “enriched” or “bleached” step away from the package! Refined grains are often found in things like white rice, white pasta, white breads and low fiber sugar filled cereal. Instead look for foods that use the words “whole grain” or “oats” and ones that are high in fiber.

You might not be able to completely avoid processed foods, but you can at least try to make better choices for those foods.

If you first fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products you’ll find you have less room for those things that aren’t good for you.

2 thoughts on “Avoiding the Additives

  1. …so I was just looking at my son’s “Gerber Graduates” toddler food pack ingredients and most of your bad ingredients are present and accounted for. http://www.diapers.com/product/productdetail.aspx?productid=40447&site=CI&cm_mmc=cse-_-googlebase-_-formula_baby_food-_-NS-072&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=NS-072

    We were giving them to him because we thought it was a good way to give him a serving of vegetables, and because they are super easy to warm up and prepare.

    Do i even have to ask if you think it’s a good idea to keep feeding him these? 🙂

    Assuming I know the answer, do you have any recommendations on how we should be getting him his proper nutrition?


    • I know, it’s sad isn’t it?

      Really the best thing that you can do is feed him the same fresh/frozen vegetables and fruits along with the lean proteins you are eating.

      I understand that it takes more time to prep food but it is well worth it. Plus it keeps you a bit more accountable with your food choices.

      Depending on what types of substances he is eating steam real veggies and mash/puree them. With fruits you can dice items like bananas, oranges, and grapes into smaller portions. Apples can be a bit difficult for them to chew so I would recommend warming them to soften them a bit or natural apple sauce can also be a good choice.

      Meat, fish, eggs and dairy are all great sources of protein for toddlers. When it comes to lean meat proteins just make sure that the pieces are small. It’s a great time to introduce foods like fish and eggs because your child can develop an early appreciate for the taste and texture of these different foods – believe me, it will save you battles in the future!

      When our kiddos were younger I had some great cookbooks that had simple recipes for kid-friendly homemade baby and toddler food. You may want to check out Amazon.

      A kitchen gadget that make make things less messy and time consuming is called “The Magic Bullet.” It is great because it comes with a variety of sizes of cups that you can attach to the blender portion, along with lids to save for later use – so it does keep the mess down and clean up time to a minimum.

      I also really like using this to make smoothies – drop some berries (if fresh also add ice) and a banana and it makes for a great breakfast drink on the go.

      It’s important that as parents we expose our children to more whole foods than processed because believe it or not this is when they can begin to form life-long cravings and habits for eating.

      I hope this helps!

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