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Foods That Parents Should Never Feed Their Kids!

Becoming a parent can be an overwhelming time. While we are filled with incredible love for our little ones, we can also be afraid of doing something wrong, including what we feed them once they are old enough.

Unfortunately, kids don’t come with an instruction manual, which means knowing what to feed them can be a minefield. But perhaps even more concerning is what not to feed them. We may innocently give our children some of what we eat, but is it the right thing to do?

Not always. So here are our top tips, backed by research and science, on what foods (and drinks) you should avoid giving your kids. If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist for expert advice.
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Sweetened Cereal for Breakfast

A bowl of cereal to get ready for a busy morning before school and work can sometimes seem like the only option. But many breakfast cereals, especially those aimed at children with their bright colors, cartoon characters and artificial flavors, are packed with sugar.

Too much sugar in childhood can lead to childhood obesity, weight management problems in adulthood and tooth decay. (Source: UK National Health Service). Starting the day with a sugar high is also bad news for learning, as the initial high will quickly be replaced by a low as blood sugar levels drop. This can then lead to cravings, and more sugary treats are the only thing that can satisfy them.

Instead, start the day by eating whole grain cereal with no added sugar or whole grain toast with sliced bananas. This will help your child stay full and energized, both physically and mentally, until lunchtime.
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Soft drinks

Regular soft drinks contain several teaspoons of sugar per serving, and regular consumption of too much sugar can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Add to that the fact that children often crave sweets once they’ve been exposed to them, and it’s simply not a good idea to give your children soft drinks.

Even “diet” soft drinks should be avoided, as they taste sweet thanks to artificial sweeteners. A 2013 Harvard study found a link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain. The researchers believe this is because the brain causes us and our children to crave sweet foods after consuming “fake sweetness” from artificial sweeteners.
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Fast food

Fast food is great if you’re in a hurry and makes for a great treat, but it’s also loaded with sugar, salt and saturated fat, all of which can impact a child’s health.

Studies, such as one published in 2013 in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, have shown that children can consume an average of 300 extra calories by eating fast food instead of home-cooked food. This can result in weight gain, obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

In addition, other studies, such as one published in the journal Thorax in 2012, have linked regular fast food consumption to the development of asthma and eczema in childhood. So it’s best to avoid introducing your children to fast food for as long as possible.
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Fish, raw fish and shellfish

Raw or lightly cooked foods from the sea should not be eaten by babies under the age of two, as there is a dangerous risk of food poisoning or allergies. So avoid giving your child shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters or any other shellfish. The same goes for raw or smoked fish such as sushi, sashimi and smoked salmon.

Other fish that are usually cooked can also cause problems for babies and young children because of their high levels of mercury, a toxic heavy metal. These include shark, swordfish and marlin. Studies, including a 2009 study published in the journal Current Opinions in Paediatrics, consistently show that mercury can harm a child’s brain development.
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Cow’s milk

As is generally accepted, breast milk is best for babies, as it contains the perfect balance of nutrients to feed a growing human being. The WHO advises giving breast milk if possible until your baby is two years old. If breastfeeding is not possible, or if you choose not to, formula is the best option.

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom recommends that cow’s milk not be given to a baby until he or she is one year old. There are two reasons for this: cow’s milk does not contain enough iron to meet a young baby’s needs and cow’s milk contains a sugar called lactose. Lactose can be irritating to a baby’s stomach and cause pain and discomfort.
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