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10 So-Called Health Foods For Kids That Aren’t Healthy At All

10 So-Called Health Foods For Kids That Aren’t Healthy At All

Take a walk through any place with children and you’re bound to see it – plates piled high with enough junk food to feed an army. Cookies, Bosco sticks, fruit snacks, pizza, soda pop, nachos and muffins are just a few of the primary offenders in hundreds of cafeterias and homes across America. If you’re a parent who has had enough of seeing your child’s health deteriorate, or you’re someone who simply wants to make better food choices, this is the article for you. Read on to learn more about 10 terrible “health foods” and what you can choose instead.

1. Veggie chips

Moms everywhere must be wary of vegetable chips of any kind. While these so-called “health promoting” items will claim to provide valuable nutrients, the opposite is nearly always the case. They might contain some vegetable “powder”, but they are still chips, and junky ones at that. Go for real veggies with a whole-foods-based dip, instead.

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2. Sports drinks

It seems beverages such as Gatorade, Propel and Capri Sun have incessantly been touted as perfect alternatives to soda pop for kids. A product’s marketing often successfully convinces parents that there are fewer artificial ingredients and less sugar. Unfortunately, this “health foods truth” does not hold up. Even taking Gatorade’s Thirst Quencher for example, drinking an entire bottle of this stuff yields over 50 grams of sugar. That’s essentially the same as an eight ounce can of soda pop. Water and whole foods are really all your body needs to replenish itself.

3. Cereal and breakfast bars

Cereal bars appear as innocuous as can be, but sugar is the culprit yet again. Companies manufacturing massive levels of products with even higher profits already understand how powerful sugar is. All kinds of companies use this to their advantage, adding sugar liberally to baseline “flavor frames” that kids already love. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of your family’s favorite breakfast bar and you’ll be shocked at how much sugar is in the ingredients. You’re significantly better off with whole wheat toast, a nut butter or a minimal-sugar jam instead.

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4. Fruit juice

Your child is probably all too familiar with the cry of, “Part of a complete and balanced breakfast!” This proclamation comes from dozen’s of children’s cereal commercials, lauding orange juice as a mainstay of a “real” breakfast. Sadly, fruit juices lack the essential fiber that makes fruit consumption so redemptive. Skip the OJ in favor of whole strawberries, bananas or grapes.

5. Graham crackers

These staples of s’mores might taste a lot better than a piece of cardboard, but their nutritional value does not follow suit. Void of any genuine nutrients and once more having unnecessary sugar, there’s nothing that can save the day for graham crackers. Opt for whole-grain crackers or whole wheat pita bread instead.

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6. Veggie puffs

Almost identical to veggie chips, veggie puffs are even worse because they’ve been further removed from their natural, “health foods” state. If your child really loves the taste and texture of potato products, introduce them to sweet potato fries and see if this catches on. While fries are still a step down from whole food choices, sweet potato fries carry a bigger punch with Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and magnesium.

7. Reduced fat peanut butter

Peanut butter has been on a roller coaster of media coverage over the last decade. Some media outlets have commended it, others have ruthlessly shot it down. The truth is, peanut butter is one of the best snacks out there, as long as it hasn’t been modified too heavily. Therefore, if you see reduced fat peanut butter, it’s a sure sign it can’t be very beneficial. Fat is one of the healthiest parts of peanut butter, and offers a perfect alternative to munching on microwaved junk food and sugar-laden cookies.

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8. Fruit snacks

Ahh, fruit snacks – perhaps the greatest offender of them all. The name itself hints at the possibility of nutritional validity, but it’s a swing and a miss on this one. Virtually all fruit snacks on the market are nothing more than a bunch of sugar, perhaps some gelatin, artificial coloring and a fruit flavored name. If there is some “fruit juice” in there, it’s either artificial or unable to outweigh the sugar in the rest of the product. Offer your child some freshly cut fruit or frozen bananas. You’ll be amazed at how much they’re likely to enjoy the latter.

9. Muffins

Over the past two decades or so, muffins seem to have fought to the front lines of “healthy” baked goods. If they had nutritional merit there would be a different story, but muffins are as bad as doughnuts and cake. Packed to the brim with artificial oils, bleached white flour and enough sugar to make your dog sick, you definitely want to pass on this cafeteria favorite.

10. Kid-targeted yogurt

All nutritional value is compromised in this long-standing favorite due to the obscene amount of sugar, artificial colors and other additives. The best way to go here is purchasing regular, “adult” yogurt and stirring in a natural fruit preserve or a comparable jam.

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Brad Johnson

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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