‘Healthy’ kids’ foods that are not healthy

‘Healthy’ kids’ foods that are not healthy

‘Healthy’ kids’ foods that are not healthy

ORLANDO, Fla. – One in five kids and adolescents in the U.S. is obese and it’s considered a serious public health problem.

Obesity can affect everything in the body, like the heart and lungs, and increase the risk for health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. A big factor in healthy weight management in kids is the foods they eat.

“When there isn’t variety in kids’ diets, they may be at a higher risk of heart disease or heart issues as they get older,” said Alessandra Stasnopolis, registered dietitian, Baylor Scott & White Health.

A recent study from the UK found that kids whose diet is mainly comprised of high-calorie, fatty, and sugary foods can experience stiffened arteries by age 17, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. But what about foods that sound healthy like veggie puffs?

“Veggie puffs, kids really like them, they’re palatable, and often they’re a quick snack. Typically, this food might be missing like protein and fiber,” explained Stasnopolis.

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Even though they are made from vegetables, veggie puffs or chips are processed to the point that they lose nutritional value.

“What you can do here instead is, have the veggie puffs and then add in nuts and popcorn so you can provide a little bit more protein and fiber,” explained Stasnopolis.

Yogurts designed for kids have a lot more sugar and artificial flavors and dyes than regular yogurt.

Instead, give your kids plain low-fat yogurt with some jam or fruit preserves. Some other foods that seem healthy but are not: reduced fat peanut butter, cereal bars, fruit juice and sports drinks. All these items are processed and contain a lot of added sugars.

“instead of thinking of what can we take away. Instead, maybe we should be thinking about what we can add in. So, for example, let’s say your kiddo really likes to eat a sweet cereal in the morning. We know that cereal probably doesn’t have a lot of fiber, doesn’t have a lot of protein, so we could add in things like nuts and seeds,” said Stasnopolis.

The UK-based study found that a Mediterranean diet protected kids’ hearts. A Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, fish and unsaturated fats.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor.

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