The Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats

The Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats

by | Sep 3, 2013 | Baby and Kids Food, Food, Foods & Nutrition, Snack & Dessert Recipes | 1 comment

As the internet becomes flooded with recipes for healthy homemade versions of dessert foods, and the shops stock more “healthy” packaged snacks, more parents are using these foods as daily staples with their children. Health-minded mums are the most likely to fall deep into this trap, which seems like such a great alternative at first. If there are only healthy ingredients in these treats, and no nasties in the snacks, what could be wrong with giving them to your kids every day?

Your kid won’t eat his chicken and veggies? Oh well, just give him a paleo pancake instead!

Paleo pancakes and other healthy baked goods

I’ve seen first-hand in my house how easy it is to get sucked into a never-ending paleo treat party. Facebook, Pinterest and loads of amazing blog sites keep our mouths watering every day with new recipes for muffins, cakes, cookies, puddings, mousses, ice creams, pancakes and chocolates that are actually healthy. Desserts that are healthy! Who wouldn’t want to eat desserts all the time if they are not bad for you?

Your kids, of course. You are so happy that your kid is finally eating something healthy, so you make them almond meal pancakes for breakfast, coconut flour banana muffins for lunch, date-sweetened cookies for snacks and cacao avocado mousse when they are still hungry 10 minutes later.

Now YOU know that a balanced diet includes whole plant and animal foods, and you enforce that on yourself because you are an adult. But a child thinks, “Why would I eat anything else if all these snack foods are healthy too, and so much tastier and addictive?” You have now made it 100 times more likely that your child will refuse a carrot stick or apple at snack time, because they are holding out for more paleo brownies. You have taught them that if they don’t want to eat their chicken and veggies for dinner, you will probably give them something more interesting anyway.

Our 4-year-old daughter Kaiya, who has been enthusiastically eating healthy primal meat and veggie meals since she was a baby (you can see her awesome toddler eating habits here), alerted me to this trap before I fell in too deep. After we had tried a few recipes for healthy treats and homemade baked goods, she started saying at meal times, “I don’t want dinner. I want something special.” My delicious home-cooked meals were suddenly not special anymore. Not in comparison to cake that is good for you.

So let them eat cake

I know what you’re saying. But all those treats have such healthy ingredients…even superfoods! Almond meal, coconut oil, cacao, dates, chia seeds and more. Even we make raw cacao balls, quinoa pancakes, and healthy party food. Yes, these foods are nutritious, but only as additions to your diet, not as the whole diet. It’s easy to get carried away and forget that your child is not getting basic proteins, fats and fibrous carbohydrates from your healthy baked treats. And you can definitely have too much of a good thing, especially nuts and seeds and gluten-free flours; all of which can be very taxing on the digestive system. As for superfoods like chia and cacao, read this article, The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need, and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Cake, even if made with “paleo-approved” ingredients, is still cake, which most children understand is an occasional food, not an everyday food. Keep it that way if you want your kids to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

The problem with healthy packaged snacks

However, almond meal banana cake isn’t the only type of healthy treat culprit. There are also many packaged snacks that easily become staples in children’s diets. Most popular are rice cakes and crackers, muesli/granola bars, dried fruit and yogurts. The packages say natural, sugar-free, gluten-free, high fiber, and no artificial flavours or colours. So what could be bad?

Well you know what’s NOT in it, so what’s in it? The answer is not much. Not much protein, fat or fibrous carbohydrates. Not many vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Not much nutrition.

As I talk about in another article about not worrying that your kids don’t eat enough, it is usually better for kids to eat nothing than to eat nutrition-less food. Every time we eat something that has very little nutritional value, nutrients have to be pulled from the body in order to assimilate and digest the deficient food.  Now that rice cracker doesn’t seem so harmless, does it?

Instead of serving up snacks that are nothing more than nutrient deficient processed grains, pasteurised dairy, or fruit dehydrated of everything except its sugars, how about a nutritious raw vegetable or fresh whole piece of fruit? As with the paleo pancakes, your child will never learn to love real whole foods if you always have a rice cracker ready for them as an alternative.

Quick Healthy Snacks for Kids

Reclaim your time and money

To cement your new thinking about packaged snacks, read the article Eat Healthy by Ignoring the Labels, and start making real, whole unpackaged foods the #1 staple in your child’s diet. Take the money that you are spending on “healthy” packaged snacks and the time you are spending baking healthy treats, and put that money and time toward buying and cooking nutritious whole food meals and snacks.

“When children eat beyond a steady diet of ‘kiddie foods’,

their taste buds grow to appreciate a broader variety of flavors.”

– Nancy Tringali Piho, author of the book ‘My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything’

More resources for feeding kids well

See if you are guilty of any of the other 7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Child’s Healthy Eating Habits, then learn:

10 Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You
10 More Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You

Get loads of meal and snack ideas from our Pinterest boards:

Feeding Primal Kids
Primal Meals
Primal Snacks & Desserts

Is your child dependent on healthy baked goods or ‘healthy’ packaged snacks?

The Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats

Related Posts

How Beer and Coffee Affect Your Blood Quality

Brad and his friend Maz Compton show what effect beer and coffee instantly have on your blood. If you really love beer and coffee perhaps you shouldn’t watch this…

Why Breakfast Cereal Ruins Your Day…AND Your Health

Breakfast cereals provide little to no nutrition, are extremely indigestible, and this is what we attempt to fuel our bodies with first thing in the morning.

Vegetable Cheat Sheet L – Z

Common vegetables from L to Z!

Vegetable Cheat Sheet A – K

Common vegetables from A to K!

How Milk Became So Dangerous

The conflicting information is driving us all mad!! On the one hand we hear: Milk Does a Body Good!. It’s essential for calcium requirements, Vitamin D, strong bones and healthy children. On the other hand we hear: Milk causes mucus. It leads to lactose intolerance and ear infections. It’s too fatty. It contains Bovine Growth Hormone. Our societal response to this confusion is low-fat milk, skim milk, no-fat milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, organic milk, BGH-free milk, no milk. Just more confusion. So what’s gone wrong and where do we go from here?

I Dream of Organic Food in Greece!

After reading this, I’d hope you feel the same! As a an advocate of all things Primal, eating organic food is by far my favourite tenet I preach to people. Bex, Kaiya and I traveled through Greece for a month June 2014 and Couchsurfed for several days with a lady Natalia Merekoulia who co-managed an Organic Co-op called ‘ΣtoA’ (translates: ‘Store’) in Napflion, southwest of Athens.

What We Can Learn From The Mediterranean Diet

We’ve all heard about how healthy the Mediterranean Diet is, but besides lots of fish and olive oil, what actually makes it so healthy? Spending the last month in Greece, we found ourselves in real food heaven and discovered some of the real secrets behind this primal diet.

Are the Japanese the Healthiest People in the World?

According to the WHO stats, the Japanese are some of the longest living people in the world. But a long life doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy one. Personally, we would rather add life to our years than years to our life, so we like to study healthy people and copy what they do. Here’s what we found when we lived in and visited Japan and analysed their diet and lifestyle…

The Only Way to Eat Gluten-Free In Japan

Gluten-free in Japan? Good luck. Trying to avoid gluten in Japan is like trying to avoid glitter at Mardi Gras. It goes completely undetected until you get home and find glitter hiding in your hair and the folds of your clothes. Well, you can’t even imagine all the places that gluten hides in Japanese food…

Kombucha: Everyone is Doing It, Should You?

What is this weirdly-named drink that everyone is into lately? Kombucha, pronouced COMB-BOO-CHA, is the hottest drink in the health food shops and many people are even making it at home. But what actually is it and is it really that good for you?

Primal Easter Recipe Guide & some fun activities

from our family to yours, here’s a primal guide to having a healthy Easter. No sugar-crashes, indigestion, or tantrums. Just yummy food, healthy treats, and new traditions.

15-Minute Primal Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables

I’m a firm believer that in order to have healthy and delicious meals, you don’t need fancy recipes, special ingredients or a lot of time. All you need are quality real foods and a few tricks in the kitchen for making amazing food in little time. Here’s a perfect example: a gourmet looking and tasting dish using only basic ingredients, barely any cooking skills, and as little as 15 minutes. Let’s do it!

Primal Cleanse

Primal Cleanse

Blog Categories

Pruvit Keto Reboot – 60 Hours

Pruvit Keto Reboot

Ketosis, Ketosis and Keto OS!

Ketosis in 30min!


Related Results

Offers from the CHEK Community