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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

Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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