Valerie Foley

What a child should eat…

In Action, Diet, Parent issues on February 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Just a quick follow up to yesterday’s eating post.

The ‘healthy eating’ guidelines issued by the Australian Government included daily eating plans for various sections of the community. The one for children Billy’s age is here.

Just because it riles me so much (knowing what ‘healthy’ eating can do to a vulnerable child’s body) I broke down the suggestions by ingredient.

The things that bother me are high levels of processed food and processed ingredients within that processed food, poor quality ingredients, preservatives, colours, high salt and sugar content, added vitamins and minerals (the bioavailability question), the reliance on gluten and dairy, the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, the encouragement for low fat and processed ‘dairy’ products… I am sure I could go on.

On so many levels, WTF?

Even on the most basic PR level, these guidelines came out with news stories featuring faceless children shoving burgers into their mouths. How are they planning to combat obesity by encouraging children to look for nutrition in a packet or a box or a colourful tube?

Anyway… here’s the list. If the source makes you go ‘wha?’ it’s because manufacturers have websites full of spin and short on detail.

The plan again, for reference.

Weetbix: Wholegrain wheat (97%), raw sugar, salt, barley malt extract, minerals (zinc gluconate, iron), vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflvin, folate) (www.sanitarium.com.au)

Reduced fat milk: milk, vitamins, minerals, vegetable oil, fish oil, permeate. (www.dairyaustralia.com.au)

Crumpet: Wheat Flour, Water, Raising Agents (500, 450), Iodised Salt, Dextrose, Preservatives (282, 234), Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate). (www.tiptop-foodservices.com.au)

Margarine: natural plant and seed oils, vitamins A & D, colour and flavours (eg. diacetyl), additives (emulsifiers and preservatives 475, 476), milk, salt, water (www.spreadthefacts.com.au)

Ryvita: Wholegrain Wheat Flour (97%), Wheat Flour, Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Sugar Beet Fibre. (www.ryvita.co.uk)

Tinned fruit salad: fruit, sucrose, invert sugar syrup, dextrose, dried glucose syrup, glucose syrup, fructose and fructose syrup. (www.codexalimentarius.org)

Kids yoghurt: low fat milk, milk solids, sugar, water, fruit (min. 5.5%), cream, rice starch, halal gelatine, natural flavours, preservative (potassium sorbate), colour (carotene), live yoghurt cultures (s. thermophilus, l.bulgaricus & b.lactis) (www.yoplait.com.au)

Wholemeal bread: Wholegrain Wholemeal Wheat Flour (50%), Water, Wheat Flour, Baker’s Yeast, Vinegar, Wheat Gluten, Iodised Salt, Canola Oil, Emulsifiers (481, 472e, 471), Soy Flour, Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate). (www.tiptop.com.au)

Reduced fat cheese: Pasteurised Milk, Salt, Cultures, Enzyme (Rennet) (www.bega.net.au)

Peanut butter: Peanuts (85%), sugar, soybean oil (antioxidant 330), maltodextrin (from corn), emulsifier (471), salt, molasses (www.foodnut.com.au)

Again, I say… WTF?

Call me a zealot, call me whatever you want. Just don’t call me or my family for any of these meals.

Ugh.

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