Keep The Dirty Dozen Off Their Plates

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Packaged and processed foods get many families through the day; they’re portable, stay fresh for long and they’re convenient. But what exactly are they doing to your child’s health?

It’s very hard to resist the urge to give your child these foods when they complain of hunger, but have you ever paid close attention to what ingredients are listed on the packaging? The rule of thumb is the first five ingredients are the most important – there shouldn’t be many more than five! The longer and more confusing the list is, the less healthy the food.

These dozen foods should preferably not be served at your dinner table:


It has an addictive element and it increases the body’s insulin production, which can lead to metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions which include increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes). If you really need to sweeten something, rather use natural raw honey.

Fruit Juice

The liver is not designed to handle concentrated sources of fruit sugar (fructose) and fruit juice is fruit sugar with water. Rather give your child fresh water or homemade iced herbal tea.

Foods flavoured with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

This Chinese savoury flavour isn’t well tolerated by the human body and can lead to headaches and poor concentration.

Foods coloured with azo dyes

These are seen as poisons by the body and are carcinogenic (cancer forming). Replace with fresh fruit and berries.

Processed Meats

These contain high fructose corn syrup that has to be broken down by the liver and can cause fatty liver syndrome. Rather use sliced cuts of beef, lamb, and chicken.

Smoked Meats

Nitrates are used in the smoking process and are also carcinogenic.


You’re basically preparing your family for frequent trips to the dentist because your child is drinking sugar. Sodas are filled with empty calories. Try coconut water as an alternative to sodas.

Saturated fat

Don’t give your child too many foods that are high in saturated fat, such as crisps, biscuits and cakes. Check the nutrition labels on foods to help you choose foods that are low in saturated fat.


Again, the liver isn’t able to break it down so use honey if necessary.

Fast-Food Kids Meal

The majority of kids’ meals are made up of hamburgers and fried chips, which are acceptable in moderation, but they are high in fat and sodium content. Give your child baked sweet potato chips as they offer more nutrients.

Raw and undercooked eggs

Eggs can be given to babies over the age of six months, but make sure that they’re cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.

Shark, swordfish and marlin

Don’t give your baby shark, swordfish or marlin, because the amount of mercury in these fish can affect your baby’s growing nervous system.

Source: Kath Megaw from Nutripaeds.

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