View Full Version : Are all processed foods bad for you?
05-06-2007, 09:32 PM
The thread about eating has me concerned now. DD eats readymade soups, mac and cheese, tortellinis etc for lunch 2-3 times a week. I always assumed that if I picked good brands and avoided HFCS, hydrogenated oils etc, it should be fine. Maybe not?
We try to go out every morning so lunch is usually whatever I can make/heat quickly.
Here's a list of things I get for lunch -
Health Valley Organic No salt added soups (vegetarian varieties)
Annie's mac (or Nature's path)
Dr. Praegers veggie burgers
TJ's cheese filled tortellini
TJ's baked beans (I know these have sugar)
TJ's or Whole foods mini-pizzas (I know these are not the best option but some days that's all she'll eat)
So what should I cut out?
DD is below charts for weight so I usually add ghee or heavy cream to most foods.
05-06-2007, 09:54 PM
All those things sound perfectly fine to me, even three times a week. The main problem w/ packaged stuff (other than the packaging is wasteful environmentally and the food is more expensive) is hydrogenated fat and HFCS and those things you mention don't have those. I eat lots of TJ's and WF prepackaged stuff myself, because I need to bring lunch and sometimes dinner to work and it's just too hard to have enough leftovers or make sandwiches. If you can afford it it's a good option IMO. Serve some raw veggies and fruits with it and milk and call it a day.
Of course if you have leftovers for dinner you can always serve those, or pasta w/ leftover veggies and/or meat. As your child gets older you may find that they'll eat more stuff that you might make for yourself for lunch, e.g DS now at 3 1/2 will eat a regular green salad w/ olives and feta cheese, or egg salad, or scrambled or fried eggs, so you can always try new stuff.
05-06-2007, 09:55 PM
I used most of the processed foods you use too. :) I try to check sodium contents. I know Annies' stuff has some higher amounts than is probably healthy. Lack of some complex grains in things with white flour (pizzas, tortellins...) is a concern if that is the basis of her diet.
I just go with ingredients mostly though. If they contain just ingredients that I would use if I was making the food from scratch I don't worry about it too much.
But, I know that there are far more knowledgeable food moms on here. :)
05-06-2007, 10:53 PM
we eat a lot of the same things over and over around here. i just check for the oils and corn syrup and the go from there. we have been eating a lot of kashi foods because i shop at walmart so i can afford everything we need and they have a good selection of kashi prducts.
05-07-2007, 12:08 AM
This is not meant as a critique of OP and maybe it should be its own thread. Reading about healthy eating and kids high on the chart/below the chart and the reactions mamas have to those charts prompt me to ask:
Are we feeding our kids to hit a chart number or to teach them good eating habits? Again, no offense to OP as I am certainly not privy to the specifics of that family situation, but to read that extra fat is being added to DC diet for the sole purpose of attempting to gain weight just made me think, will this DC grow up any healthier than the DC on another thread who is high on the chart? Won't this low-chart child learn to love the taste of fats and crave it when older? How is this different than the high-chart child who craves sweets and eats them whenever offered? It seems the only difference is where they land on the chart.
I'm thinking about my DC diet, who is low-ish on weight charts so I have been migrating, for convenience, to savory cracker snack packs over shredding carrots and letting butter-covered pasta be dinner because I know it will be eaten. But more and more I'm thinking about how, in the interest of getting that particular meal eaten, I'm contributing to a lifelong taste habit. I'm thinking about altering my child's diet to more nutritious food, even if it means defiantly skipped meals and tantrums. Reading these threads about loving mamas and how they are dealing with this issue has been very educational.
05-07-2007, 06:36 AM
Well, as a mom with a kid on the lower weight spectrum of things, I go back and forth between slightly worrying (not often) and just letting him eat what his body tells him to eat (most of the time).
That said, I'm actually a believer in eating healthy fats. In that, I include (for myself and my family) things like pastured butter, extra virgin coconut oil, etc. I'm not afraid of fat and actually think the fats we eat as a family are healthy. So yes, I put it on DS's food, but I also put it on mine LOL, because I believe it is healthy for my family. (and there are tons of people that will tell you they disagree with this nutritional philosophy, just like anything else in the world).
Yes, this bucks a lot of conventional wisdom related to diet, etc. but personally I believe in consuming fats. That said, we eat almost no transfats.
05-07-2007, 06:43 AM
You know, we eat packaged stuff here too. Not often, but DS is no stranger to Annie's mac and cheese. But, I think when people are looking to "eat healthy," one of the easiest things to suggest is cutting out packaged foods. In most cases, that means they are reducing the amount of sodium, transfats, hydrogenated oils, HFCS, etc. Most people eating packaged foods are eating conventional stuff that is loaded w/ preservatives, transfats, HFCS, etc.
For myself, one reason I *try* to avoid stuff liked canned soups (will still eat them but not often) is I think the packaging itself can be problematic. Canned goods often contain Bisphenol A, so we've reduced how many canned goods we eat. (Eden Organics from what I understand doesn't use BPA in their can lining but lots of other companies do).
I think there are pretty healthy packaged things out there. In most cases, yeah, it is probably healthier to skip even the healthier packaged stuff if you can make it from scratch. But most of us definitely can use the convenience of ready to eat stuff-myself included.
One other reason we try to avoid a lot of packaged stuff is that most of the healthier packaged foods are really expensive (like canned soup or premade organic waffles) for what they are. In a lot of cases, you can get so much more for your $ if you make your own, but again, it is not always easy to find the time.
ETA: also, the only way we can afford to eat mostly organic is to minimize our food budget in other ways, which works out to reducing the amount of packaged goods we buy. There is no way, even if we wanted to, that we could afford to eat 80-90 percent organic if we were eating a lot of the frozen/prepackaged/organic stuff from Whole Foods, etc. This was true of our life in general once we switched to mostly organics, but now that DH is in grad school, it is positively essential for us.
05-07-2007, 07:31 AM
I thought the tropicals (palm, coconut) were the worst of the oils before trans fats. I almost always put back products that contain them- especially palm oil. Just checking my brain here. :)
And a bit back to the other q- my ds is 25% kid and I am totally happy where he is. That is his genetic make up (tall, skinny dad; short, skinny mom). If he were less than 5% I would consider doing extra things but not before he got that low. I don't know where the OP's little one falls.
05-07-2007, 07:52 AM
From what I've read, extra virgin/unrefined coconut oil is a very different animal from the coconut oil you usually encounter, which is refined and often hydrogenated. YMMV with what you think about that, but we like it :) I also like that it tolerates higher temps than olive oil, etc. that smoke (and convert to nasty stuff) at higher heats. We still use olive oil, etc. but for lower heat stuff, salad dressings, etc.
05-07-2007, 08:43 AM
DS eats similar stuf-especially the frozen 'italian' stuff, like TJs turkey meatballs or ravioli. I usually check on the stuff you mentioned, but I also play close attention to the sodium. It can be crazy!
I was thinking-instead of the frozen mini pizzas would she eat one you made on pita bread or english muffin? We do that alot and it is another good way to sneak some veggies in-I hide grated carrots or zuccini in the sauce! ;)
05-07-2007, 09:12 AM
Interesting. Thanks!! :)
05-07-2007, 09:39 AM
No problem :) I think like a lot of nutrition stuff, they did the original research using really processed, refined, hydrogenated palm and coconut oil devoid of EFAs, etc. and then generalized their findings to all palm and coconut oils.
Of course, it is hard to find a ton of solid info out there on it, so it is something people would obviously want to investigate and weigh for themselves.
05-07-2007, 01:13 PM
No offense taken but just wanted to clarify.
Speaking for myself, my DD has RTA which basically means she has no appetite. So she eats very little (not enough to meet her caloric requirements). So we have to make every bite she eats calorie dense - which means adding healthy fats to her food. And I do believe that fats have a place in our diet (well, maybe not mine so much, hahahaha).
Of course, I worry about how and when I can stop adding fat to her diet. But for right now, this is not an option.
And I mention that she is below charts as an indicator of where she is with her weight. We could care less if she is on the charts or not - as long as she establishes her own curve. Unfortunately my DD was stagnating and gained no weight or height for a long time. Which brings me back to why I need to add fat to her food.
05-07-2007, 01:18 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I feel better knowing that my choices weren't way off.
I agree with everything the PPs said about packaging, cost etc. I offer DD a lot of choices for lunch including home-made rice and dal, quesadillas etc. Some days she picks the home-made stuff and some days she picks the packaged stuff. I don't fight it.
Thanks, Beth for the tip about the pizzas. Do you use store bought sauce? And just microwave it? I don't have a toaster oven.
When I do homemade mini pizzas, I toast the bread/English muffin/pita first in a toaster so that the surface will crisp up and resist getting soggy from the sauce. You can certainly skip this step. Store bought pizza sauce can have a lot of sodium as does many of the store bought pasta sauces. I will just use crushed tomatoes from a can, flavor with a sprinkling of garlic powder and oregano, and top with cheese and whatever else you might want. Then zap in the microwave until the cheese melts or put it in the toaster over or use the oven's broiler setting.
05-07-2007, 02:05 PM
I do use store bought sauce, usually trader joes, but DS isn't picky when it comes that sauce! We have a toaster oven, never tried in the microwave. I bet it would work, just not be as crunchy, you know? I bet you could throw it in the regular oven, tho, if you prefered that crunchy taste.
Goodl luck! :)
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