Your Questions About Reading Food Labels For Kids

Betty asks…

Am I the only person to get irate to see that food manufacturers still add bucketloads of sugar to kids’ food?

I’m a bit of an anorak for going round Tesco reading the food labels but it does drive me mad that after all the fuss that’s been made about healthy eating and obesity, so many foods (cereals are a case in point) that boast of their healthy attributes and are targeted at children contain bucketloads of sugar. You want an obese corpulent child? just let it have any of the popular cereal brands for breakfast!

admin answers:

I have 5 kids and have just started reading labels and making changes I have banned crisps and choclate (weekends only) and am trying to make sure that most things they eat are healthy.
However what really bugs me is the attitudes of others even my partner who acts like the biggest kid of all when he is deniede a choclate biccy my sister also tells me i’m been cruel but hey at least I know i’m not the only one trying to keep my kids healthy
good luck
(wetabix are good and nora sands has some good breakfast cereal recipies)

Joseph asks…

What are some healthy snacks for kids with peanut allergies?

My 5-year old just entered kindergarten this year. The teacher assigned dates for parents to bring a snack in for all the students. My snack day is next week and it has to be peanut-free due to the fact that there is a child in the class room that has a peanut allergy. I was surprised at how limited my ideas were upon reading labels saying that that particular food was processed somewhere where they also process peanuts. So my question is.. What are some yummy, healthy and peanut-free snacks that we can bring in?

admin answers:

Chilled carrot stix,celery stix and Ranch Dressing
Frozen Grapes
Orange Slices
Cheese and Crackers
String Cheese
Goldfish
Pretzels
Popcorn
Trail Mix without nuts

Read package many will tell if peanuts in any form were used in manufacturing

Donna asks…

How to help remote family (relatives) with two kids and not much money that are all severely over weight?

We send a little money to help make ends meet and it has helped. The grade school kids are responding to some tutoring.

Now for the health problems: Mom 28, dad 30, both at least 50lbs over ideal. Kids- girls- age 6 and 7, already at least 30 lbs over.

We know lots of healthy tips, but most cost money. They live in a large metro area in Michigan, so shopping should be OK except for good produce in the winter.

I think they just buy the convenience food on sale, like cheap pizza, etc.

From my view maybe starting with “how to cook”, or “how to read labels” books, or maybe pick a meal and give them improvement ideas- ie breakfast tips. ‘Prevention’ magazine?

I know having little money can be a problem, and having finicky kids can drive a mom crazy.

Any tips, books, ideas, successes, programs, please.

admin answers:

Sit down and talk to the parents about your concerns, and wish to help, etc. Without their complete agreement and support you can’t do anything.

See if you can help identify some of the REAL causes- WHY fast foods, why couch potatoing? Would the kids like to be in a club or class that is more active (martial arts, open gym, etc.?) Do they lack friends nearby to play with?

Do the parents feel they don’t have the time or energy for better food? Is it really a lack of education?

Your biggest challenge is how to make sure that in their eyes you are not a meddling pain in the neck sticking your nose into their business.

Lisa asks…

Stupid baby names….why?

I’m sorry, I’m going to have a rant and am prepared for the backlash but why is it that people think it’s ok to label their kids with names that they have obviously made up or read on food labelling? These kids have to live with their names forever. We all know kids can be cruel so why start your own kid off on the path to bullying with a name like ‘packet’ or ‘lavatoria’? What is so wrong with traditional names, biblical names or pretty names? Just because someone in the celeb world calls their kids after the place they were conceived do you really need to do the same?

Grrrrrr!
I am so glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. I love the comments. Cortina, Weston Super Mare and Frageel are hilarious. Thanks guys.

Oh and thankyou oh great well educated 13 year old. What is your name short for?

admin answers:

I agree with you. I’ve been slammed here a few times too for not liking a name. But they asked! If they think they are so unique and the name is so unique why seek reassurance from strangers? Go! Be unique! My big pet peeve is stupidly spelled names..like Mysty. And Jazzmyn. WTF. A. It makes the parent look like an uneducated moron and B. As an adult, especially, the unfortunate name comes with a negative preconception: Your parents couldn’t even spell your name, so what should one expect from you?? Not much. Well I guess they will have the advantage of low expectations their whole life, and will hopefully be able to surprise people. But I will bet with 50 applications on the boss’s table for one job, Mystye and Maddyyllyyne will be eliminated without much of a glance.
I am not making this up as I go along. There are actually studies to back this up. And there is a chapter in the book Freakonomics about this topic and the negative effects on the lives of people with unfortunately ignorant names. So go ahead and give your thumbs down and name your child Jyzelle or Madysyn. Best of luck to them. They’ll need it. Thanks for letting me rant with you.

Ps..personal favorite from my high school…twins named Sifilis and Gonorya. Get it?

Donald asks…

I’m a vegetarian who wants to go vegan. I’m prepared for the hard work and dedication.?

But being a beginner I have a few questions. I know the basics-no eggs, milk, cheese, whey, and I’ll probably still include whey (sorry) but what about the not so obvious ingredients? I’m always checking food labels but let’s be honest, reading food labels can be like trying to understand a foreign language. I guess what I’m saying is that I need help decoding the long ten syllable chemical whatchamacallits. You know-sodium this, nitrate that, chloride what??-The less obvious ingredients companies may sneak in there. Another question… Do products include everything in the ingredients? Like if chips(tortilla) or sliced bread were made with eggs-will that definitely be put on the list? This sounds silly but I get stuck on common food products that seem easy to figure out (vegan or not) but may not be…bread, jelly, balsamic vinaigrette, sandwhich wraps…
Hope I can get some help, plus I am always open to recipes (easy ones-I am a college kid), websites, vegan beginner guides, etc! Thank!

admin answers:

I am 14 years old, been vegan for three months, and I don’t think it takes any superior will power or anything. I wouldn’t have believed it when I was an omnivore, but being vegan really isn’t too much harder than being vegetarian. Sure, you’ll get cravings, but with dedication you will be able to fight them.

Here are the typical stages I went through as a vegan

Week1-2: Easy as pie, no cravings, felt great
Week 3: Started to crave things like cheese and yogurt
Week 4: Cravings increase, constant impulses to eat the non-vegan food i am surrounded with in my house (no one else is vegan)
Week 5: ‘Seriously considering cheating, but I hung in there
Week 6: Tired of the teasing and self restraint. Considering going back to ovo-lacto.
Week 7: Visited some more websites, reminded myself of why I was vegan. Cravings decrease.
Week 8: Very few cravings, back to feeling great
Week 9-12: No cravings at all. I forgot what cheese tastes like for the most part. Happiness at last!

If you still eat whey, you are not vegan. Sorry. Whey is a derivative from milk.

Here’s some “hidden” ingredients:

Canned Goods and Non-Perishables
•Soup base / stock / bouillon: meat or fish fat
•Vegetable soup: meat or poultry broth
•Worcestershire sauce: anchovies
•Lard: solid animal fat
•Caesar salad / dressing: anchovies, possibly bacon
•Refried beans: lard
•Beans in tomato sauce: pork
Bakery, Bread and Crackers
•Crackers: may contain animal-derived enzymes
•Amino L-cysteine: derived from animal hair or feathers
•Whey protein: a milk product
•Omega-3 enriched bread: may contain fish oil
Candy, Desserts and Confectionary
•Marshmallows: gelatin (made from animal bones)
•Hard / chewy candies like Skittles or Starburst brands: gelatin
•Jell-o or gelatin desserts: gelatin
•White sugar: filtered using animal bone char
•Pie crusts: store-bought and some homemade contain lard and/or butter
Produce
•Apples, candy apples: shiny red coating made from beetles (carmine)
•Caesar salad (pre-packaged): anchovies, possibly bacon
Dairy/Frozen/Refrigerated Products
•Frozen hash brown potatoes: some contain lard
•Yogurt or sour cream (especially low-fat brands): gelatin
•DHA-enriched products (for example; milk, orange juice, margarine, cheese, bread but not omega-3 eggs): gelatin
•Cheese: rennet (scraped from the stomachs of baby cows)
•Margarine: gelatin, whey powder, casein
•Soy cheese: most contain casein (a milk protein) to help them melt
Beverages
•Beer
•Wine
Note: not all beers and wines are made using animal products, but those that do, do not list it on the label. No animal ingredients are present in the final product (beer, wine) but some are filtered with animal products like isinglass.
•Bloody Mary cocktail: anchovies (in Worcestershire sauce)
•Bloody Caesar cocktails: clam juice and anchovies (in Worcestershire sauce)
•Fruitopia brand drinks: some flavours contain carmine (crushed insects) as a colouring
Other
•Medications: anything listed as a “gel-cap” contains gelatin
•Medications: red colouring in capsules may contain carmine
•“Natural colour”; “Natural flavour”: may be animal- derived (such as beef broth) or vegetable-derived. The source does not have to be specified on the label.
Non-Food Items
For many, vegetarianism and veganism extend beyond food to clothing and lifestyle. Many do not use:
•Leather, fur: animal skin, pelt
•Down bedding/comforters and pillows: duck or goose feathers
•Soap: most contain animal fat (sodium tallowate)

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