Kid Foods That Aren’t as Healthy as They Seem

girl drinking apple juice

Don’t be fooled! These kid classics aren’t as nutritious as you might think.

Certain foods and drinks have become staples for kids: apple juice at preschool, graham crackers at snack time. They seem like perfectly healthy options—but are they really? When you actually stop to read the ingredient lists and crunch the numbers, it’s clear that many of these childhood faves aren’t nearly as wholesome as they’re made out to be. Here are five top offenders:

1. Sports Drinks: Though sports drinks were designed for elite athletes, they’re now handed out at pee-wee soccer games—and many parents believe kids need them if they’re sweating or they’re playing sports in warm weather. In one survey, more than a quarter of parents rate sports drinks as “somewhat healthy” or “very healthy.” Truth is, sports drinks are not appropriate for most kids, and you can easily replace any lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium with regular food. A 20-ounce bottle of sports drink contains a lot of stuff kids don’t need, like more than eight teaspoons of added sugar and artificial ingredients like fake flavoring and food dye.

2. Nutella: The first two ingredients are sugar and oil. In fact, a serving packs 21 grams of sugar (that’s more than five teaspoons of added sugar—close to what the American Heart Association recommends kids get in an entire day!). But it’s easy to see why some parents are fooled, since the chocolatey spread used to be marketed as part of a healthy breakfast, showing it spread on whole grain toast, for example. Then one mom filed a class-action lawsuit calling the ads deceptive. The manufacturer settled the case for $3 million, and the ads were dropped.

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