Foods your child should not be eating

Foods your child should not be eating


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

SOMETIMES in a desperate attempt to get their picky eaters to have some food, or for the sake of convenience or affordability, parents make the mistake of filling their children’s diet with unhealthy or less nutritious snack choices.

But nutritionist and dietician Jenelle Solomon says it is important to pay attention to the types of food your children eat, especially because they are at a very vulnerable stage of development which demands balanced nutritional proportions for optimal growth and development.

"Simply put, kids should avoid foods with empty calories. So, common foods that we tend to give our children such as sodas, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, pastries, cookies, cheese sticks and bag juice — these foods have calories and nothing else. They contain added sugar, and/or solid fats that provide energy, but no nutrition," Solomon warned.

Children are a growing, not a grown species, hence they require macro and micronutrients and vitamins for healthy growth and development. So the following should be avoided:

Sodas, drinks and bag juices

You want to completely avoid these, as all the flavours are artificial, and the only thing that you will get are sugars. These are dangerous — not just to the oral health of children — but especially in light of the increase in the number of cases of child diabetes and obesity on account of all the empty calories being pushed into their bodies. Give your children natural juices instead.

Sweet and fat-filled foods

Biscuits, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pizza — all these are filled with sugars and unhealthy fats generally in the form of margarine and oils. These have very little to redeem them nutritionally, and could only contribute to setting off illnesses such as child diabetes and encouraging obesity.

Sugary cereals

Children, because of TV ads or familiarity, always seem to want those cereals with extra sugar and syrup. This gives an unhealthy start to the child’s days. Choose whole grain cereals and add fruits if you want to add a little sweetness.

Artificial fruit snacks

The gummy candies, the jellies, fruit rolls and buns are also something you want to keep away from your children. Even if it is fruits in syrup, you still should avoid getting it. If your children like fruits, give them a natural fruit salad instead. Fruits are naturally sweet, so there is no need for added sugars. If your children prefer their fruits sweeter, add raisins.

Fast food

Oh yes, children’s eyes light up at the very mention of fast food. These meals often include processed meats and foods that are packed with trans and saturated fats. They are usually very high in sodium and calories. These combinations spell child obesity, could cause children to crave sodium-rich foods that create challenges in adulthood, and could contribute to the development of hypertension, starting in some as early as their teens.


Whether it’s on rice, chicken, mac and cheese or even vegetables, some meals don’t seem complete without a little ketchup or barbeque sauce. But this could defeat the purpose of getting your child to have nutritional foods, since sauces are packed with calories and unhealthy fats.

Cheese trix

Cheese is a great source of calcium for children, but when it is processed to make snacks such as cheese trix, the benefits are reversed, since these foods are packed with sodium and preservatives.

Whenever you are feeding your children, try to choose natural home-cooked meals instead of supermarket-ready foods. You want to make sure that your children get adequate supplies of nutrients in the proportion their bodies need.

"Just remember these simple rules when you make meals — carbohydrates and fats (healthy) provide energy that growing kids require while being active. Protein, vitamin D and B vitamins, zinc and calcium are important in growing children for healthy cognitive development. In addition, protein is needed for muscle building and repair, and calcium is essential for developing strong, healthy bones," Solomon advised.

Providing children with whole foods, in a balanced way, will also ward off the possibility that your children will become deficient in any vitamins or minerals.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon