Holiday Junk Food – A Recipe for Disaster
Ah, the holidays. It’s a time of year when family gatherings and get-togethers are plentiful, and so is the junk food. We all know that eating too much sugar, artificial food coloring, and artificial flavors isn’t healthy for kids—but it’s so easy to let our guard down in the hustle and bustle of holiday celebrations. So how can we take control of what our children eat during this festive season? Let’s take a look at why these ingredients are so bad for our little ones, as well as some ways to substitute unhealthy treats with healthier alternatives while still having fun!
The Impact of Sugar on Kids’ Health
We all know that sugar is bad for us—but did you know that it can have particularly negative effects on your child’s health? Eating too much sugar can lead to poor immune system functioning, which can make them more likely to get sick or develop allergies. Furthermore, sugary treats can cause their behavior to become more erratic or unpredictable due to spikes in blood sugar levels. Lastly, it can wreak havoc on their gut health by feeding ‘bad’ bacteria in their digestive tract and leading to an imbalance in the microbiome.
Artificial Food Coloring & Artificial Flavors
Artificial food coloring has been linked to hyperactivity in kids as well as other behavioral issues such as difficulty focusing or even insomnia. Artificial flavors are just as bad—these chemical compounds are created from petroleum based substances which have been linked to headaches and migraines in children. Furthermore, these chemicals have been known to disrupt hormones which can lead to further issues such as obesity.
When buying packaged snacks for your family over the holidays, it pays off to read labels carefully so you can make sure you’re not unintentionally introducing any chemical additives into your kid’s diet.
While it may feel so easy to just give your child that bright blue, HFCS filled cookie they’re demanding, the few minutes of disappointment or short tantrum is NOTHING compared to the complete meltdown that will ensue later that evening, and the following day from being so inflamed that their brains just can’t regulate.
If you’d rather stick with store-bought snacks then be sure to look for brands made from natural ingredients such as raw honey, coconut sugar, honey, coconut flour or almond flour instead of white sugar or white flour.
If you’re rushing through the aisles or just trying to place that Instacart order before the baby wakes up –quickly looking for an organic label will at least ensure that the product won’t have high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, artificial flavors, or artificial colors – and generally, it will have a cleaner ingredients list overall.
Another hack is to look for snacks with a short ingredients list (and one with ingredients you would actually keep in your own pantry!) – usually, these will be more pure, have less additives, and less preservatives.
At the end of the day, there’s no reason why your kids can’t enjoy delicious treats during the holidays while still eating healthily at the same time! By checking labels and getting creative with natural snacks made from quality ingredients you’ll be able to give your kids all the sweetness they crave without exposing them to unhealthy levels of sugar or artificial additives. All the ingredients for a truly happy holiday!