Here at Jolly Tomato, we’re all about moderation, having fun, and living it up every now and then. But there are a few foods that are just not worth your time. Read down this list and then back away slowly. Seriously. Don’t even start thinking about giving your kids:
Soda: What is the point of soda in the first place? Not being soda drinkers, we don’t get it. But even if you like it as an adult, think about what it is – basically a whole bunch of sugar and chemicals mixed in with carbonated water. Diet sodas don’t seem all that much better to us either – you’re just getting the chemicals. So don’t even bother starting your kids on soda. Sure, they’ll discover it on their own time, but with any luck they won’t make it a habit.
Fruit leather: Yes, it has “fruit” in the name, but that’s about as far as it goes, nutrition-wise. It’s basically a bunch of sugar with a teeny bit of fiber and vitamins, all packaged up in a chewy, sticky form that’s really bad for your kids’ teeth. Kids love fruit. So why bother with fruit leather?
Sugary cereals: OK, we’re not going to name names here, but you know who we’re talking about. These lame excuses for cereals give your kids empty calories: a whole bunch of sugar, very little fiber, and in many cases, artificial coloring. So throughout the morning, they’re buzzing around on a sugar high until they collapse from a lack of energy. And who wants that? Make better choices, like whole-grain, high-fiber cereals, and don’t get tempted to introduce the sugary cereals as a breakfast option.
French fries: Let’s see – salt? Check. Grease? Check. Empty calories? Check. French fries have it all in one very (admittedly) tasty little package. When kids are served French fries next to just about anything else, they’ll fill up on the fries every time. Of course your kids won’t make it through childhood without being offered French fries. But you can do your part by ordering fruit as a replacement side dish whenever possible. And by all means don’t serve them at home.
Pepperoni pizza: We’re sorry to say it, but this old kid standby needs to be left behind. A slice of pepperoni pizza gives you a whopping serving of fat, sodium, and calories in relation to the small amount of protein and calcium you’ll receive. On balance, it’s just not worth it. Stick with plain cheese if you must or even veggie pizza if your kids will eat it.
Of course this list is by no means all-inclusive. We see you, potato chips, hiding back there, looking all salty and greasy. We know you’re out there, doughnuts, with your deep-fried creme-filled temptations. And don’t think we’ve forgotten you sugary juices, prepackaged lunches, deep-fried foods, toaster pastries, and fake cheese and crackers. We know you are lurking out there trying to tempt us, but you’re not fooling us for a second.