I guess if there’d be a place to start eliminating processed foods, you could start here. These are some of the most processed foods on the planet.
Americans LOVE French fries. LOVE THEM! What fast food meal is complete without them? Hamburger without fries, unheard of.
Here’s the problem. In just a SMALL McDonald’s fries there are 230 calories and 11 grams of fat. In just the fries! What’s worse is the oil they are fried in, canola oil. Click here to read about refined oils and you’ll understand why this is such a big deal.
Another thing is the type of potato, white. When you (or your child) eats white potatoes your body releases insulin, which isn’t a bad thing, but if done too many times in one day is not good.
Eating French fries isn’t the worst thing for you, just make them yourself. There are tons of recipes online. We prefer making our Perfectly Roasted Steak Fries ourselves!
What’s better to go with those fries than chicken nuggets? Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these things are quite possibly the worst things on the planet (well besides hot dogs, they’re next on the list). Sticking with McDonald’s for a minute, in their Chicken Nugget Happy Meal kids are consuming 280 calories, 18 grams of fat and 540 mg of sodium! Add those numbers to the fries and you see where we’re headed here. If you have a weak stomach I advise you to skip this next part…
One 2004 documentary describes McDonald’s nuggets as chickens “stripped down to the bone, and then ‘ground up’ into a chicken mash, then combined with a variety of stabilizers and preservatives, pressed into familiar shapes, breaded and deep fried, freeze dried, and then shipped to a McDonald’s near you.” (source 1)
They now contain actual white meat (whew!) but added to that is dimethylpolysiloxane, a form of silicone and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) which is a preservative used in animal fats.
I could spend days talking about chicken nuggets and I don’t want you to think it’s just McDonald’s I’m picking on.. it’s ALL chicken nuggets. Gross!! It makes me want to cry thinking how many of these things I fed into my little kids bodies.
I make my own chicken nuggets now and to be honest my husband I like them better then the kids! No joke
Don’t tell me you don’t eat hot dogs! If you don’t, then someone else is consuming the more than 700 million packages of them that were sold last year. Not only that, but ballparks are estimated to sell 20,421,361 of them during this season alone!
What the hell is in a hot dog? Does anyone REALLY want to know? aaaahhhh… ok I’ll tell you.
Mechanically separated turkey – the USDA defines mechanically separated poultry (MSP) as “a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue.” Hot dogs can contain ANY AMOUNT of mechanically separated chicken or turkey. They do that with pork too!
Sodium Nitrate – Nitrates can also be found in bacon and other processed meats. It is truly toxic and should be avoided. Sodium nitrate is a salt derived from nitric acid. This compound is a common industrial substance that occurs in fertilizers, plastics and explosives. Sodium nitrate also occurs in pharmaceuticals and as a preservative in foods. Click here to read more.
Want to know what they stuff it in? Sure you do, you’ve read this far….
Synthetic Collagen Casings – According to www.Naturalnews.com, “to make collagen sausage casings, the hides of slaughtered cows are set aside and have their hair removed. The hide is then chopped up and mixed with water, lactic acid and cellulose fiber until it swells into a slurry. A vacuum removes air from the slurry, which is then homogenized, re-vacuumed, and pressed into a thin, flat shape. This casing is then coagulated with salt, plasticized with glycerin and dried until it is needed.” Yummy! Oh, and I can’t help you with a recipe here.
Many studies have been done on the effects of soda and the body. Some point to sodas contributing to a higher stroke risk, as well as heart problems. I have yet to really find anything concrete on that so I’ll just leave that alone. What I can say for sure is soda is the biggest source of empty calories in our diet! I’ve read that anywhere from 16-over 20% of our daily calories come from these types of drinks alone!
But most concerning are the artificial colors and the high fructose corn syrup in these drinks. You know that caramel color? That’s made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites. This chemical reaction makes compounds 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole. Long term exposure to these compounds increased lung, liver or thyroid cancer in mice or rats, according to a study done in 2007 by the government’s National Toxicology Program [source]. You can also read our post on the effects of HFCS here.
What kid doesn’t love PB&J on white bread? I think I lived on white bread until my 20s to be honest and my mother STILL insists on it, especially for grilled cheese sandwiches. But I digress, white bread is a refined carb which means it’s been processed and since it’s been refined and even enriched it is an easy food to digest leaving you feeling hungry for more soon after. But there are also artificial sugars and preservatives added to the bread as well which aren’t healthy.
We have the most amazing Brioche Bread recipe that does NOT use a bread machine. If you have some extra time on the weekend I highly encourage you to make this – it will rock your world!
Two things I’d like to say…. first it was very hard to come up with just these 5 foods. I can go on and on about what processed foods are and which ones to eliminate from your diet but for times sake and the fact the list has to stop somewhere I chose 5. Maybe I’ll do another post on 5 more in the future.
Second, I want you to notice the color of these foods. Do you notice they are all beige? Foods that are beige have been processed. Think about it, french fries, nuggets, white breads, onion rings, burgers, potato chips, donuts, muffins. They all use white flour, white sugar and are processed.
As parents, it is our job to provide our kids with sound nutrition. If we feed them foods like the ones listed above we are sending them a message. LOUD AND CLEAR. We are telling them (without using our words) that these foods are OK to eat.
Food that are good for us will always be so colorful and vibrant like the picture below. Do yourselves a favor and eat more of them. I hope you find some great recipes here on our website to help you make some great meals together.
The top 3 other ingredients in these foods. Palm Oil(modified) calcium chloride, & Mono- and diglycerides. Costco’s croissants is the silent reaper that makes obesity worse.
Great read. Makes sense! This explains why lots of kids are obese
Im not sure if I will still get a response… But here goes…
So even if I picked “healthy” chicken nuggets, hotdogs, luncheon meat without any transfat, added sugar… Its still one of the worst foods due to the added sodium nitrate?
i’m not really sure what a healthy hot dog looks like and yes all those items you just mentioned are still processed, especially the luncheon meats and hotdogs. there are many reasons they are the worst foods to eat, nitrates only being a part of the problem.
So in reading this, I give my toddler 3 out of 5 of these every week. She LOVES hot dogs, just began to eat chicken nuggets, and if I put fries in front of her (which is actually rare), she will scarf them down and eat nothing else. However, I only buy Applegate Turkey Hot Dogs and chicken nuggets from Whole Foods. When she eats fries, it’s maybe 2 times a month. Soooo…. are the options above as bad as the ones you are talking about in your post. And if so, what is your suggestion for picky toddlers?
it would depend on the ingredients. Mainly, what oil is used, what preservatives are used and how they’re processed. So generally speaking yes they are bad because it is processed and I’m sure you don’t have all the ingredients listed. Go for organic, with as few (known) ingredients as possible.