I am in the middle of weaning a baby and feeding a toddler, so when I was asked to get involved in the No Junk Challenge campaign for Organix I jumped at the chance to sign the pledge, not only for some much needed inspiration, but to encourage the food industry to take responsibility for what’s in children’s food.
Did you know that more than one in five children are entering reception year at school as officially overweight or obese? With food targeted at toddlers and children typically higher in salt, fat and sugar (cereals, bread and snacks), it comes as no surprise that we are confused about how to give our children a healthier diet.
Sign up to the pledge
The point of the week-long challenge, which officially kicks off on April 28, is to get as many parents as possible to take a pledge to ditch the junk and cook at home using natural ingredients.This is our chance to urge the Government and food industry (which happens to be self regulated) to provide stricter controls on the levels of added salt, fat and sugar and artificial additives in children’s food.
I love this video, such a cute baby… I wonder how many takes that was?
Weaning onto a healthy diet
I breastfed my first daughter for almost a year and plan to do the same with my second, so I am keen to wean them onto foods and brands that are as natural as possible. However, I’ve since discovered that ditching the junk food isn’t quite as easy to do as little ones get older – especially when sugar and processed foods are inevitably placed right in front of their noses at parties, nursery… or Grandma’s sweetie tin!
Don’t get me wrong – treats are good – and let’s face it, junk food works especially well as bribery when trying to avoid a tantrum in a public place. But on a daily basis it would be great if we can limit the junk in our kids’ diets. Why? Because all of this salt, sugar and additives can cause a heap of problems; from obesity to insomnia, hyperactivity and various other health problems.
- Breakfast cereals – they are so sugary! Cheerios, which some people see as a healthier option for kids, have a whopping 12.3g sugar per 30ml serving (with 125ml serving of milk), compared to Sainsbury’s supermarket own brand ‘Hooplas’ at 11.7g sugar per 30ml serving. Let’s not even talk about cereal bars!
- Yoghurts – show me a Petit Filous and I actually start getting a little bit red in the cheeks. It’s frustrating that alternative sugar-free options are so much more expensive when surely we should be encouraging parents to go for the healthier option? Thankfully things have improved massively since I weaned daughter #1 and there is more choice of yoghurts with naturally occurring sugars.
- Fruit juice versus water – this is a slightly controversial one, especially among my mummy friends who are ever so conscious of offending one another when it comes to food choices. But I do think that food companies (Heinz, Hipp Organic and Cow and Gate to name a few) shouldn’t be marketing fruit juices for babies four months and up. I’m yet to see any evidence that babies need anything other than milk and water to quench their thirst.
Get involved with the No Junk Challenge on Facebook and Twitter
So ahead of the campaign I just wanted to give you all a heads-up of why I’ll be even more active on Facebook and Twitter (#NoJunk) over the next week. There will be lots of great ways we can get involved in the pledge and speak to other mums about the challenges we face, including a menu planner, recipes, tips, guides on how to read ingredients on labels and much more.
I’ll be posting again to let you know how I’ve got on with various recipes and changes to my shopping list. Make sure you take the pledge!