29 Sep Hidden Nasties in “Wholesome” Kids Foods
As a mom or dad, we know you want nothing but the best nutrition for your little growing superstar. And walking through your local supermarket, you might think there are plenty of safe and wholesome options out there. But remember, most big food brands are never as wholesome as they claim. “Fresh” fruit juices are full of preservatives and added sugars; while “vitamin-enriched” cereals typically include a long list of artificial colours. Faithful to Nature has put together some handy tips on what to look out for on those ingredient lists, the best ways to avoid them, and which healthy snacks you can feed your toddler instead.
These are just a few good reasons to stay well away from artificial colouring, flavouring and preservatives.
Why You Should Avoid Artificial Additives
- They have NO nutritional value; they’ve been added simply to enhance the colour or flavour of foods, to make them seem more appealing
- They’ve been linked to behavioural problems like hyperactivity and ADHD; read more here
- They’ve been linked to food allergies in children (and many adults too); consumption can trigger symptoms like asthma and eczema
- Ingredients like artificial colours are tested for safety, but often banned in numerous countries; is that a safety standard you can really trust?
So now we know why we should steer clear of these ingredients, but how do we do that? Here are a few key tips to limit your little one’s exposure to these sneaky “hidden nasties”:
Tips for Keeping it Natural
- Eat more whole foods; limit the amount of processed foods and ready-made meals you eat at home.
- Pack your own snacks; keep some natural snack bars in your bag, make trail mix and purées from scratch, and keep a few homemade snacks ready to go for days when you know you’ll be out and about with your little one. This means you’re much less likely to give into convenient store-bought snacks like chips and sweets. Check out our Trail Mix Recipes and our Baby Food recipes for some inspiration.
- Juice your own fruit and veg, or blend fresh produce into smoothies, instead of buying pre-mixed “fresh” juices at the supermarket. It’s easier than you think, and after you’ve tasted real fresh juice you won’t want to go back. Find out what to look for when buying a juicer for your family.
- Avoid brightly coloured, sugary breakfast cereals; many major children’s cereal brands claim to be “wholesome” but are loaded with chemical additives. Check out our range of natural kids cereals here!
- Avoid foods and drinks that are already flavoured or coloured (eg. store-bought chocolate milk). Instead, opt for plain milk, yoghurt, cereal etc, and add your own fun natural flavouring or colouring at home. Take a look at our handy “how-to” list below:
Make Your Own Natural Food Colouring
- Green: Boil 1 handful of spinach in 1 cup water & strain
- Blue: Boil 1 handful of fresh blueberries in 1 cup water & strain
- Red: Boil 1 chopped beetroot in 1 cup water & strain
- Yellow: Boil 2Tbsp turmeric in 1 cup water & strain
Add Your Own Natural Food Flavouring
- Chocolate flavour: Stir in 1-2Tbsp of cacao powder
- Malt flavour: Stir in 1-2Tbsp of maca root powder
- Coconut flavour: Stir in 1-2Tbsp desiccated coconut, or coconut butter
- Salty/ cheesy flavour: Sprinkle in 1-2Tbsp nutritional yeast over homemade popcorn or potato chips
- Fruit flavours: Add a little natural flavouring for delicious fruity soda water, yoghurt or desserts
Hidden Nasties Lurking in Popular Kids’ Foods
Here’s a look at the “usual suspects”; common culprits found in everyday kids’ foods and snacks. Plus a few tasty but healthy alternatives, straight from our online organic store!
|Additive:||Other Names:||Found In:||Healthy Alternative:|
|Tartrazine||E102, Yellow 5, Lemon Yellow||Fizzy drinks & sweets||Seitenbacher Fruit Snacks|
|Quinoline yellow||E104, Food Yellow 13, Acid Yellow 3||Ice lollies, cereals, fruit juices||Very-Berry Bircher Muesli|
|Sunset yellow||E110, Yellow 6||Orange jelly, apricot jam||Tierhoek Organic Peach Jam|
|Aspartame||E951, Non-saccharide sweetener||Sugar-free sweets & soft drinks||Sparx Sugar-Free Candies|
|Monosodium glutamate||MSG, E621, sodium glutamate||Instant noodles, crisps, savoury snacks||Cheezy Kale Chips|
|Sodium Benzoate||E211||Soft drinks, fruit juices, sweets||Cocolife Coconut Water|
|Cochineal Red||Ponceau 4R, E124||Canned strawberries, jelly, dessert toppings||By Nature Dried Strawberries|
|Acesulfame K (potassium)||E950||Sugar-free sweets & soft drinks||Xylitol Chewing Gum|
|Indigo Carmine||Indigotine, E132, Blue #2||Biscuits, sweets, ice cream||Orgran Vanilla Biscuits|
|Brown HT||E155, Food Brown 3||Chocolate-flavoured cakes & milks||Orgran Chocolate Cookies|
Knowing what to look for is half the battle – so keep an eagle-eye out for these artificial ingredients, and you’ll start to see the patterns in common “healthy” kids foods, and arm yourself with better knowledge on what to avoid. We hope these tips have been useful – and to end things off on a sweet note, here’s an easy, genuinely healthy kids’ snack recipe your little one will love.
Recipe for 3-Ingredient Jelly Cups
This is the easiest sweet treat to make for your kids – gelatine-free, additive-free and loaded with the vitamin C that comes from real fruit.
- 4 cups of freshly juiced apple juice
- 1 cup organic raspberries, frozen
- 1Tbsp agar agar
- Heat 2 cups of apple juice in a saucepan with the raspberries; bring the mixture to a boil.
- Remove from heat & whisk in the agar to dissolve. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of apple juice.
- Pour the juice through a strainer to remove the raspberry seeds; then pour it into jelly moulds or cups. Refrigerate overnight to set. Makes a delicious dessert or snack!