We live in a world where convenience is key and feeding our kids is no different. We get it! In fact, so many people get it that according to the Royal Children’s Hospital, one in five children under the age of five eat pre-made foods most days. It is also a fact that most ready-made baby foods are packed full of unhealthy and completely unnecessary ingredients, that do more harm than good to your little ones.
Getting into the habit of reading ingredients lists and understanding what’s inside kid’s foods and snacks before you purchase them might sound like a lot of work, but it can be simple. Let’s break it down.
Nasties to Avoid
As your kids grow up, it’s important they eat foods designed to support development and growth. However, a walk down the supermarket aisle can lead you to foods packed full of unnecessary and unhealthy additives, fillers and preservatives. But if you know what to look out for, these types of ingredients can be easy to avoid. When you turn over a packet in the supermarket, try and avoid foods with:
- More than 120mg of sodium (salt) per 100g
- More than 5g of sugar per 100g (If the food contains fruit, allow for up to 20g of natural sugars)
- More than 1.5g of saturated fat per 100g
Avoiding snacks that contain high levels of added sugars, salt and saturated fats, and instead searching for foods that only contain low, naturally occurring levels of these ingredients is key to a healthier, more nutritious diet. Here at Whole Kids, we are committed to a healthy planet, healthy people and healthy products, which is why our range contains no artificial additives, and only low, naturally occurring levels of salt, sugars and fats.
Real Ingredients to Search For
A great place to start when searching for real, honest foods for your kids is to look out for ingredients that belong to the five healthy food groups including:
These food groups each contain various nutrients that help your kids’ development, growth, and functioning. You will find that fruit and vegetables give your child energy, vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre, which all help to protect your little one against diseases later in their life. Grains provide your child with longer-lasting energy helping them to learn and grow. Dairy (introduced after 6 months of age) will give them the calcium they need to strengthen their teeth and bones, whilst foods rich in protein are important for growth and muscle development. It is for these reasons that we love making sure our range of snacks are chock-full of these real, honest ingredients.
Ingredients that Might Scare You but Shouldn’t!
We know the feeling of overwhelm when you pick up a food packet, turn it over, and are faced with scary-sounding ingredients that make you want to put that packet straight back down. And sometimes, that’s a good thing. But a lot of the time, those big words are just the scientific names of ingredients that are actually good for little bodies.
It’s all about learning the scientific names of ingredients that are good to look out for, just like the following examples:
- Tocopherol – This is vitamin E, which is used as a preservative in foods containing oils and fats. Vitamin E is great for the body, enhancing immune functions and preventing blood clots in heart arteries.
- Pyridoxine – This is vitamin B6, which adds nutritional value when added to foods or supplements.
- Docosahexaenoic Acid – This is an omega-3 fatty acid and is essential for our health. These fatty acids are responsible for building cell membranes in the brain and preventing blood clotting.
Knowing what these kinds of ingredient names actually mean and being able to recognise the good ones is a great step towards selecting healthier snack options for your little ones.
To put it simply, convenience is absolutely okay when it comes to baby foods as long as you remember to read the back of the packet and avoid anything with high levels of salts, sugars and saturated fats, and instead search for foods high in vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy and protein. Oh, and don’t forget to look out for those scary-sounding ingredients that are of benefit to little bodies!