Nourish your kids with real food!

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Not all kids snacks are created equal. We asked Maria Shaflender from True Foods Nutrition to tell us why.

Last week I took my camera to the supermarket to do some research on snack foods. My aim was to take some pics of kids snack foods and their ingredients, to see what the snack ‘products’ are like these days, as it’s been a while since I’ve shopped for them.

Yes, that’s right. Supermarket (and many health food shop) snacks are products – food products manufactured in a factory, from ingredients that many companies do not put on their websites, for a reason (hence the photo taking).

They seem to fall into 3 categories: dairy snacks (yogurt packs mostly), chips of various kinds and grain based things: biscuits, crackers and puffed rice/corn cakes. The sad part is that we are told these are healthy snacks for our children: the yogurts are low fat, the chips have ‘25% less fat/salt/whatever’ and the biscuits/crackers have ‘no artificial ingredients/colours’ and sometimes are even ‘enriched with vitamins’! Wow, that is truly impressive!

Surely these are foods designed with our kids’ health in mind! Or are they?

Today’s Snack Foods
We are all busy these days. Life is fast, there’s not much time to prepare, cook and even plan for food. It’s so convenient to pack a little snack of biscuits or crackers or squeezy yogurt in the lunch box, there’s just not enough time in the day to worry about these things. There’s more important stuff to worry about, like whether the kids are learning to read when they are supposed to, or how well they are doing in sport. And really, at the end of the day, they run around like crazy monkeys, so they will just ‘burn it off’ anyway, right?

Well the truth is -the foods our kids eat today are very different to:
• What our ancestors (and even our grandparents!) ate
• What we are biologically designed to eat and absorb
• What naturally occurs in nature
• What supports their growth and development (including learning how to read and doing well in sports!)

Healthy Foods Build Healthy Bodies
Everything your child puts in their mouth is used for constructing their blood, organs, skin (an organ too), hair, eyes, brain, hormones and many other somewhat important things in their bodies. Just think about this for a second- we use our food and drink to CONSTRUCT our bodies every day! In children’s growth, there is a hugely increased demand for every vitamin and mineral. So it’s important to ensure that the foods they eat are nutrient dense and really count, as they are building blocks for their little bodies. Given lots of kids seem to exist ‘on air’ and are tricky to feed, it’s even more important to make every bite count nutritionally.

Processed or not?
Friends often ask me “So what do you mean by ‘not processed’ food?” and my reply is “You know, food you make at home from real ingredients!”

Real food is:
• From a plant or an animal: from nature!
• Not made in a food factory
• Not packaged in a box or plastic with a catchy brand name (and not advertised on TV)
• Not altered or denatured by the preparation/cooking process
• Still contains all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for building the body

Real food nourishes the body and produces healthy cells and people.

So it does matter, it’s worth the time and it will make a difference to health!

True Foods Nutrition is here to educate about real foods for health and teach hands on skills to help you make easy, quick, cost effective and highly nutritious foods at home. Go to to find out about our cooking workshops using only real foods.