Standing up for your Child’s Health in the Supermarket Aisle

Posted on September 17, 2009


If you read my post on building the Taj Mahal out of cupcakes…you know what constitutes good quality ‘building blocks’ for your best body and best health…and it’s not cupcakes. So the question becomes, why are many of us allowing a ‘free pass’ for the children in our lives when it comes to building the best, healthiest bodies possible? Whether you have children or not, read on to learn about how imbalanced diets are making us sick! 

As a Fitness Professional, one of the things I hear most often from parents and people who have children in their life is, “He/She is at that stage…unless it’s Mac and Cheese or chicken nuggets, he/she won’t eat it,” and “It’s just really hard to get them to eat the healthy foods.” And while caring for a child is a full-time job with many stresses, that are piled on top of the stress of the rest of your life, it is your job as the adult in the room to make the correct choices for and with your child, so they can develop into a healthy, well-rounded adult. We have literally hamstrung our children’s future growth & success when we cave in to their chicken nugget cries. 

The internal mess that is being created as a child’s diet devolves is setting them up for a lifetime battle with disease, inflammation in the body and organs, and undue stress and financial hardship as someday they need to get treated for the imbalances and issues that are starting now. Sound crazy? You’re talking to someone who’s lived through it and had to learn from it and I can assure you, what your kid eats now will DIRECTLY affect their life and health in the future. 

You and your child are being directly marketed for products that will negatively impact their health and fitness. The fact is 65% of the population are now obese – 1 out of 3 kids is considered overweight or obese. 1 in 3! That is madness!! But beyond that, even if your child is at a normal weight and body fat level, the damage being done to their internal systems under the daily assault of packaged and processed foods is incredible.

As an adult, you have a choice: educate yourself so you can educate your child and help them make the best choices possible, or choose to stay uneducated and let your child’s health be determined by the people who box up chips and pop and call them “healthy options.” 

I’ve listed key things you should be aware of that will negatively impact your child’s health (and yours!) & below them, a brief outline of why you must be vigilant about the quantity that they are in your child’s diet. Feel free to read the ones that are most important to you first and return to it often as you work with your child on their nutritional building blocks. 

-Imbalanced Diet/Minimal Fruits & Vegetables

-Carb & Sugar Overload

-High Fructose Corn Syrup

-Soda Pop

– Fail to balancethe diet and food sensitivities/intolerances can develop. Food intolerances or sensitivities (different from food allergies) can develop when the same foods are eaten day after day for a period of time. The same foods over and over again can become like a mini-assault on the body which may develop into food sensitivities. Food sensitivities will generally present as lethargy, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disorders, joint & muscle aches, asthma, headaches & migraines. Each person is different and may develop different symptoms and as adults we choose to live with them, complain about them, buy expensive medicines to take care of them OR we can choose to live optimally well and not have to deal with these things! Start your child off right and get them optimally well early on by rotating foods in their diet. 

– A highly processed, moderate to high sugar dietwill cause the yeast Candida to overgrow. Candida is a yeast organism that lives naturally in the body, but becomes rampant when good flora in the gut is killed off by prescription drugs, birth control pills, and poor diet. Candida feeds off of sugar and can put holes in the gut (Leaky gut syndrome), & spread through the body causing what can be debilitating symptoms. Possible places for overgrowth in babies – the mouth, diaper area, and gut. In children and adults – mouth, brain, ears, gut, feet, uterus in females, & the groin area of males. An overgrowth of yeast can cause symptoms in children including, frequent diaper rash and oral thrush in babies, skin rashes, colicky for longer than 3 months, recurrent ear infections, craving sweets, headaches, hyperactivity, learning problems/problems concentrating, irritability, frequent nasal congestion or wheezing, higher than usual unhappiness/hard to please. As children grow into young adults and adults, a Candida overgrowth- if left untreated – can lead to “jock itch” in men, frequent yeast infections in women, “brain fog” (when it seems difficult to concentrate or forgets easily), fatigue, ADD/ADHD, frequently cold hands/feet, anxiety for no apparent reason, along with approximately 80 other symptoms that may relate to a Candida overgrowth. Choose to help your child live optimally well by keeping Candida in check along with their sugar intake! 

– High fructose corn syrup is one of the most unhealthy chemicals out there today, and is one of the most common ingredients in food on store shelves today. High fructose corn syrup is made from scientifically altering corn syrup so it has an increased fructose content. High amounts of this compound in the diet have been shown to lead to mineral deficiencies, has been implicated in elevated cholesterol levels, as well as decreased white blood cells- making the body less able to fight off foreign invaders. Serving processed foods like cereal, mac n’ cheese, chicken nuggets, lunchables, Little Debbie snacks, and the like fills your child with chemicals made in a science lab while at the same time robbing them of calories coming from natural sources that contain healthy vitamins & minerals that help a person grow and develop new cells. Try shopping for the optimally well groceries by checking every label to see if it contains HFCS- if I see high fructose corn syrup, I put it back. Do the same and try shopping 1 week without buying anything that contains HFCS and see if your eyes are opened to some new, healthy foods!

– Soda pop is highly acidic and will kill off the good bacteria in the gut which allows the bad bacteria to flourish. The carbonation makes for a hostile environment in the stomach making it hard for good digestive function to occur. Soda pop contains either sugar or aspartame- both of which affect the body’s metabolism regulators, which means you are messing with your child’s growth systems at a critical time in their life. Caffeine has an increased effect on children because they have to process the caffeine load with a smaller body and smaller systems. No child who wants to live optimally well should be given soda pop, plain and simple. While at other times a treat here or dessert there is fine in moderation, there is no good reason at all to give a child soda. Period. 

*This weeks’ Tip is not meant to make any parent or adult care-taker throw their hands up and say “I give up!” It’s meant to help you open your eyes to the reality of what is going into our children’s mouths and learn about how we can help them grow into optimally well kids, young adults, and adults. In addition, you could be responsible for helping them live in control of their health and fitness when they are adults because of the nutrition education you gave them when they were young. What a great gift to give them! 

If you have further questions about this weeks’ Tip or how nutrition choices could be affecting your child (or yourself) please feel free to contact me directly via email at: