All moms want their children to be healthy. It's for this reason, they try to choose the best and healthiest products for them. They opt for products that improve their children's wellness and provides them with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
For example, they may buy fruit juices with the belief that their kids might get the same nutritional value as from a whole fruit. They might offer granola, cereal, or instant oatmeal for breakfast, believing this will grant them a great start to their day. They may also offer them the now popular low-fat, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and all-organic products in an effort to serve for the healthiest options possible.
However, in many of these cases, moms are off the mark. A lot of seemingly healthy products are actually quite unhealthy for our kids because they are loaded with sugar, preservatives, artificial colors, and other unwholesome ingredients. It means that, if we want to keep our kids healthy from the early days of their lives, we need to be even more attentive than we are now. We need to know what products are actually healthy, and which ones might have an opposite effect on the wellness of our children.
But worry no more, luckily for all the health-obsessed moms out there, here is the list of the products that are less wholesome for our kids than we think.
20 Vegan, Gluten-Free Or Organic Snacks
If you think that when the product you purchase for your child has a label saying that it's gluten-free, vegan or organic, it means that it's a healthy product, then you're wrong. The reality is, if a product is labeled as gluten-free, vegan or organic, it doesn't mean anything at all and you should still read the list of ingredients to make sure that you don't give empty calories to your child, as explains Nutrition Stripped.
That's right, we live in a crazy world and even seemingly wholesome foods should be scrutinized.
As with all other foods listed here, beware of added sugars, artificial flavors, and colors, as well as preservatives. Also, pay attention to the number of calories per serving.
A lot of moms believe that juice is extremely healthy. They buy it all the time and they give it to their kids to drink, with the best intentions. Little do they know that, in fact, juice isn't as healthy as it seems.
It's not only the sad truth about store-bought juice but about any juice in general.
The thing is, juice is completely deprived of the essential nutrient contained in fruits and veggies: fiber. It means that when we give a glass of juice to our child, we feed them with pure sugar in liquid form. If it's not homemade and is instead storebought juice, then you can be sure that it's loaded with sugar as well.
As such, it's a better idea to just give your child a piece of fruit instead of a carton with juice that has been squeezed out of that fruit.
18 Scented Candles
It's not just the foods we buy for our kids in an effort to make them healthier that need to be watched. There is also a vast number of other products that aren't as healthy as we think they are.
Let's take scented candles, for example. Do you like to use them for relaxation and creation of a positive atmosphere in your house? Then you should know that you need to choose them carefully because some scented candles emit hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and toluene that can potentially cause issues in the central nervous system.
And, being a good mom, you certainly don't want these problems for your child.
17 Bran Muffins
As points out Men's Journal, bran muffins are considered to be good for kids because, as many moms believe, they're made of bran that is much healthier than flour. But, if you know more details about how these muffins are done, you'll know that this conception is far from being true.
In fact, bran is the outer layer of grains, such as wheat, oats, and rice, that has a good amount of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, as well as low-glycemic carbs. Even though it all sounds nice, keep in mind that store-bought muffins often contain more flour than bran. Besides, manufacturers also add a lot of sugar and sodium in an attempt to improve the taste of bran.
And what does it all lead to? Empty calorie intake and increased risk of the development of diseases.
16 Microwave Popcorn
Whether you frequently go to the cinema with your kids or not, they are likely to adore this snack associated with movies and fun time. However, if you're eating microwave popcorn, you should know that your organism isn't having as much fun as you are because this snack has quite a few unhealthy ingredients. Among others, there is a lot of salt and added trans fats that are believed to make it taste better, but, at the same time, they can cause a bad effect on your child's and your own health.
So opt for the good old air-popped or stove-popped popcorn, where you can control the amount of salt, oil, butter, and other ingredients.
15 Antibacterial Soap
We've been told by advertisers that antibacterial soap is good for us because it eliminated the bacteria on our hands and keeps them clean. We've been using it for years and taught our kids to use it, too, but now it turns out that our whole life has been a lie.
In fact, according to the FDA, antibacterial soaps and other washes made with triclosan, the main antibacterial chemical, are not only ineffective in fighting with germs on our hands, but they're also harmful because they can disrupt normal hormone function in children and lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What to do then, you might ask? Simple! Use plain soap to wash your hands and have your kids do the same thing!
14 Store-Bought Smoothies
If you associate smoothies with healthy nutrition for you, think again. Of course, those you make at home from fresh fruits and veggies are incredibly healthy for you and your kids. But those you buy at a store aren't as wholesome as you may believe them to be.
The thing is, ready-made bottled smoothies rarely have real fruits and, instead, they're packed with empty calories and sugar or artificial sweeteners.
So take out your blender (but be careful with it, too - we'll talk about it later) and prepare a smoothie yourself. Instead of fruit juice, try using coconut water, almond milk, or plain water as a liquid base to make it even healthier.
13 Veggie Spreads and Dips
Just like smoothies, oatmeal, granola, and many other items in this list, veggie spreads and dips are fine for your child, but only if you make them at home and use healthy ingredients. But if you prefer to buy them at a store, prepare to be disappointed.
To prolong the shelf life of these products, manufacturers add huge amounts of preservatives, along with saturated fats, artificial flavors, and colors. Of course, it all can make them look and taste better than homemade dips, but these ingredients certainly don't make them any good for the health of your child, or for your own health, for that matter.
12 Prepared Salads and Salad Dressings
A lot of people automatically think about healthy foods, when they hear the word "salad", but they forget that if they buy a prepared salad, it won't be the most wholesome option for them or their children. Most restaurants serve salads using huge amounts of dressing that significantly decrease the healthiness of other ingredients of this dish and add extra calories that neither you or your child needs.
Be especially careful with low-fat salad dressings and avoid buying them to dress your homemade salads, as points out Mom.me. Like other low-fat foods, they contain huge amounts of sugar, as well as preservatives, flavorings and salt. Instead, prepare dressings by yourself, using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, as well as fresh herbs and spices.
11 Your Blender (Yeah, That's Right)
I know what you're thinking, "How come blenders are also bad for the health my kids? How, in the world, should I make all these smoothies and spreads for them?" And you'll be completely right to ask these questions.
But the reason why you should be careful with your blender is simple. According to the report by NSF International, the blender gasket is the third germiest item in the kitchen. It harbors Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold.
And, of course, every time you use your blender, all these unpleasant things get into your smoothie. This means that you should thoroughly wash the blade and gasket of your blender after every single time you use it. Then, the germs won't get to you or your kids.
10 Vegetable Chips
Yes, veggie chips are made of veggies, as points out Men's Journal. But no, eating them doesn't mean that your child is getting their veggie count of the day. In fact, chips contain very little vegetables because they are extremely processed and all vitamins contained in fresh veggies are eliminated.
Besides, most of the store-bought veggie and fruit chips are artificially flavored and colored to taste and look like a real vegetable or fruit.
If your child really likes this kind of chips, there's a way out for you. Cook your own baked chips at home. But the best option is, of course, to eat fresh and whole veggies and fruits.
9 Trail Mix
Who doesn't like trail mix? I bet both you and your kids do, and you don't even worry about it, thinking that it's the healthiest snack possible. I mean, there are nuts, dried fruits, chocolate-covered seeds, M'&'Ms, pretzels, crackers... What's not to like? It's so yummy!
Well, actually, it all depends on the way you make your mix. If you go for the most common salted nuts and M'&'Ms version, you might want to reconsider your choices. To keep your mix healthy, make it by yourself, adding unsalted nuts, dark chocolate, unsweetened coconut flakes, as well as a little bit of dried fruit (preferably, that you made yourself).
8 Low-Fat Yogurt
Many of us tend to think that low-fat versions of different products are healthier. For this reason, we often buy low-fat yogurts, among other products, to our kids. We believe that they'll do only them good due to the content of healthy bacteria that are useful for their digestion.
If you agree with all these statements, then prepare to hear some bad news. As Spoon University points out, low-fat yogurts are far from being as healthy as we think because they're loaded with sugar.
In fact, low-fat products usually have 40% more sugar than regular-fat ones.
Besides, if you tend to choose the flavored yogurts kids usually love so much, don't expect to see any real fruits in them.
7 Skim Milk
As Men's Journal explains, skim milk has a reputation similar to low-fat yogurts. We consider it healthy due to lower fat content, but many of us don't know that it's actually much less healthy than whole milk.
The reason is simple. In the process of getting rid of fat, all the essential vitamins are also removed from whole milk. Besides, since its texture and flavor, as well as its natural protein and calcium content are also ruined in the process, skim milk is fortified with synthetic vitamins. Needless to say, these vitamins have less benefits than natural ones. It means that whole milk is a much better choice for you and your children.
6 Pretty Much Anything "Sugar-Free"
In an attempt to make sure that their kids eat as little sugar as possible, some mothers purchase sugar-free snacks and drinks, as states Spoon University. They sincerely believe that if there is no sugar, these products will be healthy for their kids. However, it's not that easy to determine what is wholesome and what is not.
Some of the sugar-free foods contain artificial sweeteners that replace sugar in them. The most common one is aspartame that, according to some studies, is linked to the development of cancer and digestion issues. So make sure to read the labels and opt for the foods that contain natural sweeteners, such as agave nectar.
5 Bottled Tea
Iced tea is tasty, refreshing, and seems to be healthy. Well, at least healthier than Coca-Cola and similar drinks. But... is it?
In fact, it's not as healthy as we may think it is. The iced tea you buy in stores is a huge culprit of hidden sugar and additional calories. Based on the previous point, I hope I don't have to tell you again why it's bad for the health of your child.
So if your child likes iced tea, you're better off making it yourself at home. This way, not only will it be healthier as a result of containing less sugar and calories, but it'll also save you money.
4 Instant Oatmeal
What can be healthier than oatmeal? This is what a lot of moms think when they buy packs of instant oatmeal for their children to eat for breakfast. Of course, the instant version of this porridge is faster to prepare, so moms tend to choose it over homemade plain oatmeal, without realizing that there is a major difference between them.
Instant oatmeal usually contains much more sugar and calories.
Maple Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal, for example, contains 12g of sugar, while a homemade bowl of oats contains only 0.37g of sugar.
So try to put in that extra little bit of time and opt for homemade oatmeal instead. It really only takes just a few more minutes to make.
3 Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are a good alternative to candies, but it's still not the perfect choice for your child's health.
Similarly to veggie chips, they don't have a lot of vitamins leftover from the fresh fruits. Instead, they contain a lot of sugar, as well as preservatives added to extend their shelf life. Some of these preservatives are rather harmful the health of your child.
So before you go shopping for your child's snacks, carefully check out the nutrition facts about dried fruits and make sure that the ones you buy are as close to being natural as possible. Or, again, opt for fresh fruits.
If your child is used to eating cereal for breakfast, here's the information you need to know. Several years ago, the Environmental Working Group analyzed over 1500 types of cereals. According to the results of their study, the cereals made for children generally contain 40% more sugar than those made for adults, as reported by Forbes.
In some cases, a serving of cereal contained as much as one third of the maximum recommended daily amount of sugar intake.
"Cereals that pack in as much sugar as junk food should not be considered part of a healthy breakfast or diet," experts say. Pay attention to the label of the cereal you buy for your kid to make sure that it doesn't contain much sugar.
1 Granola and Granola Bars
What do you know about granola and granola bars? Do you think that they are very healthy and nourishing? And do you give them to your child for breakfast or as a snack during the day? If you do, there is something you should know. As Nutrition Stripped explains,
The granola and granola bars you buy at stores are loaded with sugar, as well as artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.
Besides, granola has an incredibly small serving size of one-fourth of a cup, which means that if you give your child a usual, cereal-bowl size serving of granola, their intake of sugar and empty calories will become extremely high.