I’m sure I am not the only parent to have to explain to a 7 year old the difference between real and not so real food. In this particular case, it came along with a side of peer pressure….hers not mine.
Yesterday for the first time, my daughter asked for ‘Fruit Roll Ups’. ‘All of my friends have them in their lunchboxes and I don’t’. So it was prime time for ‘the talk’ about healthy food choices.
A mom/daughter trip to the grocery store and some investigating of the ingredients in the so-called ‘Fruit’ snacks helped solidify a mutually agreeable solution to wanting them in her lunchbox.
The label on the box confirmed that the ‘fruit’ snacks were made from loads of highly processed sugars, hydrogenated oils (to make the rolls firm and have shelf life) and artificial flavours and colours…basically chemicals to make if look and taste like fruit. And later, our on-line investigation confirmed that in Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency only requires 2% fruit puree in such snacks. Really almost no fruit to speak of.
So finally my daughter got the idea real food = better nutrition and highly processed foods and those processed to mimic real = not so good. So I won the argument without a fuss right there in the grocery store. And she got to pick out another treat of her choice that she finally chose from the ice cream aisle. I believe in children having treats…of course, but with the knowledge of what offers a nutritionally better choice.
From this experience, I am certain that the BIG FOOD industry is counting on people not reading labels. And their executives are most likely quite giddy at the profits stacking up because some time-strapped parents find not having to wash berries or cut up an apple, reason enough to buy their fake fruit snacks. Whatever the reason, I have a serious distaste for marketing such junk food toward kids and worse, all dolled up to appear somewhat healthy.
In the end, I am pleased that my very young daughter now gets that it doesn’t matter what the other kids are eating. You have the choice to gather information, make informed decisions and eat what’s best for you.
Today my sweet pea (aka ‘Sessa’) requested a real apple and a few pieces of Giddy YoYo chocolate (no nuts, dairy, hydro oils or fake anything!) for her school snack. And I was more than happy to oblige!