Packaged fruit juices,biscuits,crisps,popcorn,chocolate who has not put one or two of these items for their kid to carry to school?I know I have but think about it,how healthy is it for your child to be snacking on these items loaded with sugar,empty calories and salt?
If you took a walk to a Kenyan schools from nursery through primary at around 10am in the morning when most are on tea break and took a peek at what we pack for our children to take to school ,we would be surprised to see the amount of sugar we are feeding our children.
Most of the time,its packaged fruit juice,biscuits,chocolate ,crisps and other not so good stuff.
I remember when I went to kindergarten which thankfully was for a year,we would have milk and biscuits and on some days ,which was the high light of our week,we would be given milk and cookies.Yippee!now which five or six-year-old does not love that.
At times I have even found myself packing some of these things i am talking about for my child ..but i digress.
First on the list is fruit juice or drinks.And in Kenya with no regulatory or consumer body that keeps watch,most of them are just made of sugar,flavourings and preservatives.
In some countries before a fruit juice can be cleared for sale in the market,it needs to have a specified amount of real fruit pulp.
In 2001,the American Academy of pediatrics published a paper called The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics.
And in it they decried the overconsumption of juice among infants and young children as it was seen to contribute to obesity,malnutrition,dental caries and diarrhoea
But why lie packaged fruit juice and fruit drinks does tastes good(because of the sugar added),is attractively packaged and kids love it.
Next on the list of favourite snack time treats is biscuits or cookies and what are most of them loaded with sugar and calories.Same as fruit juice and drinks bad for teeth and no nutritional value if consumed in excess.
Let us not forget the flavoured brand of crisps that have hit our supermarkets from tomato to barbecue to salt and vinegar flavours,they taste so good but how healthy if eaten every day between monday and friday?
How many of us ever make sandwiches from tomatoes ,some chicken ,cucumber,lettuce and pack them for snacking?
Or include nuts and fruits and make some real juice and give them to our children.
A lot of the eating habits we have as adults start from childhood and we need to be careful as mothers to start of our kids early in life on healthy eating.
So next time you are sending your child off to school,put a little more thought into what is going in their snack box.