8 Terrible Foods for Kids

Making the right food choice for your kids can be tough—and though “everything in moderation” is a good rule of thumb to go by, some foods warrant a little more concern than others.

Here is a list of potentially harmful foods that you need to keep away from your child:


Spicy Cheetos


Anyone who’s ever had a Cheetos knows you can’t have just one…but moderation is key when it comes to the spicy kind. Emergency room doctors have been reporting treating more kids who’ve developed gastritis after eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The painful condition, an inflammation or erosion of the stomach lining, is due to the snack’s coating changing the pH balance in the stomach, making it more acidic…and making orange little fingers the least of your worries.

Children’s Cereals


It’s easy, it’s fast and it’s convenient. But your child’s morning bowl of cereal may also be loaded with sugar. An Environmental Working Group analysis of cereals found that children’s cereal contained a whopping 40 percent more sugar than adult cereals. And a dozen are actually close to or more than 50 percent sugar by weight—including Kellog’s Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow, Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch and Kellogg’s Apple Jacks. They also found that children who eat a bowl of cereal every day end up consuming 10 pounds of sugar in a year.

Canned Foods


Canned foods can be plenty nutritious—not to mention convenient—but an Environmental Working Group survey found that more than 75 brands use cans that contain bispehnol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen particularly harmful for young children. Among the offenders? Bush’s, Hormel, Chef Boyardee, Ocean Spray, Healthy Choice, Green Giant, Progresso and Goya. Check out the safer, BPA-free brands below:

Hot Dogs


It’s not the dubious nutritional value of hot dogs that makes them dangerous for kids—it’s the choking hazard. Hard candy, grapes and nuts are next on the list—and though any food can be a choking hazard.

High-Sodium Meals


About 90 percent of American children ages 6-18 consume too much sodium daily.One in every six kids have raised blood pressure. One way to lower it? Cut back on the major high-sodium foods in their diets—including the top culprits: pizza, bread, cold cuts and cured meats, sandwiches, chicken patties and nuggets.

Fruit Juice


It’s not just soda that experts caution parents against. Though the $10 billion juice industry claims there’s no link between juice and obesity, some experts disagree—and some even say it’s not much better than soda. For young children, more than 12 ounces of fruit juice a day has been linked to short stature and obesity.



There’s no question that soda contributes to everything from obesity to behavioral problems in children, but some are worse than others. The Environmental Working Group lists popular picks like Mountain Dew Code Red, A&W Root Beer, A&W Cream Soda, 7 Up (Original and Cherry) and Sunkist Orange Soda among its top offenders, with many containing over 10 teaspoons of added sugar per serving, synthetic food dyes and high saturated fat.

Fruit Snacks


If you’re looking for a nutritious on-the-go bite for the kids, fruit snacks are not the way to go, according to the Environmental Working Group. In an analysis of foods for babies and preschoolers, snacks like Gerber Graduates Fruit Twists, Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites and Sprout Organic Crispy Chews all raised concerns, some even weighing in at 70 percent sugar.

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