4 Foods I Would Never Feed My Children & Why…

With half term approaching, many of us will be facing incessant raids on the kitchen cupboards and moans of ‘I’m hungry’ on a loop!

At Babes, the girls are always worrying about what their family are eating. It’s a minefield these days with all the ‘diet this’ and ‘free-from that’ products out there.

I always tell the Babes the no. 1 rule of thumb is: Read the ingredients not the label!!

So here are the top 4 on my hit list of foods to avoid:

1. Margarine
This synthetic butter substitute contains trans fats (made when vegetable oil is chemically altered to increase a food’s shelf life).

Margarine was marketed as a healthy alternative to butter due to the misconception that saturated fat (found in higher quantities in butter) was responsible for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

Now, most experts agree that it is trans fats (found in cakes, sweets, gum, whipped cream, ice cream, margarine and pastry) that contribute to CHD and that small amounts of saturated fats are OK.

I use butter. It tastes nicer and in small amounts it won’t hurt you or your children!

Check out the long list of ingredients on the label for a pack of marg verses unsalted butter, which usually has NO added ingredients.

2. Low fat foods
Marketed as a lower calorie, healthier alternative that can help you lose weight, these often contain more sugar and are full of additives known to cause a host of health and behaviour problems.

A recent Which study found a Tesco low-fat yogurt has more calories per pot – 130 – compared with the Activia standard yogurt, containing 123 calories. It also contained more sugar – 20.2g (more than four teaspoons) per pot rather than 16.9g in the Activia.

*******We need fat, it is vital to our survival and if you eat the RIGHT FAT it won’t make you fat!*******

Required for concentration, brain function, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption.

Your brain is around 60% fat.  Think of those little brains trying to soak up all that information at school each day!

So if my family are going to have a treat it’s always full fat!

**********Remember: sugar is the real enemy, not good fats.**********

3. Breakfast cereals
Although marketed as a healthy start to the day, most kids cereals are jam packed full of sugar. A 30g serving of Kellogg’s Frosties contains 17g of sugar (approx. 3 heaped teaspoons)!!

The fibre and vitamins added during manufacturing are just replacing those lost during processing and can be supplied in better food choices, i.e. fruit and veg. And just for the record, the iron they add, is actually iron filings!

Sugar excites the brain and makes concentration extremely difficult, especially for children. It causes sugar in the blood to rise suddenly, giving a burst of energy (or fidgeting when made to sit at a desk!) followed by a slump, leaving them/you feeling tired, moody, agitated and on the hunt for another fix.

More addictive than heroin, a sugary start to the day is not a good start for anyone.

I give my gang porridge, eggs, fruit with natural yogurt or Weetabix. These release sugars slowly throughout the morning, keeping them feeling full and alert.

4. Sugar Free Drinks
So if sugar is the enemy, it would make perfect sense to opt for the sugar free versions, right? Wrong!

These ‘low calorie, low sugar’ alternatives replace the sugar in these drinks with an artificial sweetener called aspartame.

Used in over 6000 foods and drinks, aspartame has been linked to a long list of health problems including Cancer, Diabetes, birth defects, Epilepsy, weight gain (true!), emotional disorders, depression and ADHD.

Aspartame can cause a range of behaviour problems in children, making them irritable, anxious and restless – not really how you want your children behaving or feeling!

So what’s the alternative?

When it comes to fizzy drinks, juices and squashes I would avoid giving them whenever possible and always offer water first.

But on the occasions you want to treat the kids, I would go for the full version. Avoid anything sugar free, low cal, lite, zero or anything else.

Always remember to check those labels…

Aspartame is also referred to as E951, Canderel, Equal, NutraSweet and Aminosweet.

Want more guidance on healthy nutrition for you and your whole family? Our 7 Days of Fat Loss Taster Week starts this Monday!

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About the Author Kim Raine

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