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Checking Your Kids? Snacks & Drinks

Nutritionists believe that snacking has a large part to play in the growing problem of childhood obesity, and that is exactly why we need to be careful about the high-calorie snacks and sugary drinks our kids drop on the our grocery carts on trips to the supermarket.


More and more brands are saying that their food and snacks are healthy, how can I tell if this is true?

You are right to be skeptical. “Just because an ads or package claims that something is nutritious doesn’t mean it will nourish your body better than junk food,” says Ms. Nieves C. Serra, chief dietician at Asian Hospital and Medical Center and president of the Nutritionist-Dietitians' Association of the Philippines. The best thing to do would be to visit a nutritionist who will be able to correctly guide you regarding your body’s requirements of food and also teach you how to read food labels.


Are smoothies’ healthy alternatives to sodas?

The answer is yes — unless they are readymade. Ms. Serra explains: “The main ingredient in commercial or readymade ‘smoothies’ is fruit juice, which lacks fiber found in the fruit itself. Most smoothie places use frozen yoghurt as a base and then add addi­tional sugar.”

There are stalls that prepare smoothies fresh, however; just ask how they prepare the drinks and see if there is too much sugar being added.


How about vegan chips for snacks?

Ms. Serra says that while vegan diets are healthy, ethical, and environmental, many ‘vegan’ foods available on the market are not necessarily healthy. “It’s important to keep in mind that these are still highly processed, factory-made products that are bad not just for your kids but for everyone,” she explains.


What food or ingredients to we need to look out for?

There is so many foods to look out for, but the rule of thumb is that anything with too much sugar, salt, or fat (i.e. taking up half or more of the food’s total number of calories) is not healthy. Ms. Serra lists a few of the worst cul­prits lurk­ing on grocery store shelves:

  • Arti­fi­cial sweeteners with Aspar­tame, Acesulfame-K, Sucralose, or Sac­cha­rin.
  • Energy bars, just because they come in fancy packaging with health claims doesn’t mean they are healthy.
  • Many are full of white flour, sugar and some can be high in saturated fat and contain little to no fiber.
  • Fat-free foods, if it is fat-free, it doesn’t mean it is calorie-free. Fat is generally replaced by sugar and sodium.
  • Sugar is then converted into fat and is stored in your body like the other fats until it is burned off as energy.

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to watch over your children’s diet so that they can nurture their little bodies properly and grow into physically healthy individuals. But you don’t need to cut out sugary snacks completely — try to provide alternatives like frozen fruity ice cubes or even chocolates once in a while. Just educate them about moderation by saying something like, “there’ll be no more until tomorrow” when they’re done eating the sweet treat.


Additional reference:

What is your parenting style?

You feel best as a mom or parent if you are able to (Choose 1):

Be there for important milestones like collecting her drawings from class or creating a photo book of her first trip to the zoo.

See your child being the top of her class and constantly receiving citations in school.

Monitor your child's progress and make sure that she develops according to her age.

Make sure that your child always stays healthy and seldom gets sick or hurt.

Make the most out of your bonding time with your child.

Give your child the most fun experience she can have while growing up.

Please choose your answer.

Want more info about the survey?

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