February 16, 2005 - Joanne

Bad Party Food

This Valentine’s Day, I was reminded that kids deserve to be treated better than we treat ourselves, as they are our future. Before birth, most mothers (hopefully all) will plan for a bright and healthy future for their child. To achieve this they will make thousands of choices for their child before it is able to make it’s own choice. Food is one of the essential elements of life. We need to consider that what we serve to our children is one of the choices that we make for their bright and healthy future.

At the recent Valentine’s party my son attended, parents were asked to bring a snack as part of the party. Every child was presented with a plate which included each offering.

On my son’s plate were:

1 home-baked strawberry (artificially flavored) cupcake with store bought icing and sprinkles
2 breaded chicken fingers (most likely frozen)
2 pieces of cheese probably cheddar cut into fish shapes (but it was very soft – strange cheddar)
1 store-bought brownie bite
1 handful of Kettle® brand potato chips
1 CapriSun® Orange Drink (alternate drink was JuicyJuice®)
1 store-bought Wafer cookie
1 store-bought Heart cookie

Of the above, the only thing my son would ever be served in our house (and on rare occasion) would be the Kettle potato chips. He took a tiny bite out of the cupcake, a tiny nibble of the brownie and ate all the potato chips and drank most of the CapriSun. This was his decision. I was proud of him (even though he did drink the CapriSun).

Why I was so disgusted: It takes 5-10 minutes more work to make real homemade cupcakes. If you just can't make it from scratch at least consider the transfat content of most of the store brands of mixes and choose one that does contain healthy elements. Store bought frosting? Just because you might have eaten it out of the can doesn’t mean that you should perpetuate a bad habit or serve inferior “food” to your children. Make your own icing.

Chicken fingers? Probably fried in partially hydrogenated oil and containing questionable parts of the chicken – and I doubt organic chicken. This is not food.

I won’t get started on the cookies and the brownie bites which not even my chocoholic son would eat. But I do have to rant on the CapriSun – this is the second mom who has chosen to serve this pouch to my son.

The “all natural” CapriSun – which contains:
“water, high fructose corn syrup, grape and pear juice concentrates, citric acid, natural flavor”.

First off no matter what anyone says I do not consider high fructose corn syrup to be a natural ingredient. It is a processed ingredient. Obviously the FDA does not agree. So basically CapriSun is water, sugar and juice. That’s not “juice” in my books. So a good alternative? How about water? Or juice flavored water? Or even juice (but please make it organic!)? Why not just serve them ½ a soda? I mean when you come down to it – the difference is really that CapriSun contains some juice concentrate. It has only 10% fruit juice and contains 25g of Carbs. Coca Cola has 27g of carbs.

Moral of the story:

June 10, 2005 - Jack

What Not to Feed Kids

1. Stop feeding your kids inferior foods, like, instant processed foods which you don't even like the smell of.

2. Feed kids foods that you yourself would eat.

3. Feed kids foods you do eat, in smaller portions. Don't obsess if they don't eat them. Just keep serving them such. Curiosity will eventually get to them. (It can take twenty(!) times of trying something before you like it.)

4. No High Fructose Corn Syrup. That means no Coke, Pepsi, etc., in the house!

5. No foods with partially hydrogenated oils. (PHOs.) Any food that lists PHOs in its ingredients has Trans Fat - Even it the package says Zero Trans Fat; the serving size was reduced so it can zero (which means 0.1-.5 trans far), on an FDA technicalty

6. No fast food. I know, it's so damn convenient and your kids are relentlessly brain-washed into wanting to go there. Perhaps telling them, "I care about you and I don't feel this food is good enough quality for you." will ease their cries of outrage. Resist, resist! And, it's not like they need another plastic toy from China, do they?

7. Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. Give them snacks of raw fruit and vegetables like carrots and celery. Most kids will eat these.

8. Don't expect your kids to eat overcooked asparagus, broccoli, peas, string beans, etc. Mushy and bland isn't going to get them interested.

9. Try to serve them organic foods. Yes, availability and quality varies, but try, try, try. Organic foods are healthier (they have higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) - and don't you want the best for your kids?

One more thing, when you're at a restaurant that you go to with your kids frequently, please pass on your comments about their "kids menu". So many "kids menus" seem to have five stupid foods (like Mac 'n Cheese!) and no green vegetables.

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