Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

After years of federal government lobbying on the behalf of consumers, several food manufacturers have been somewhat subjugated to reduce the sodium content of their food products within the next decade. What is baffling about this statement is that it will take many years for these companies to be able to produce products which the consumer will still enjoy, all the while slashing tasty additions from the salt family (monosodium glutamate, or MSG, being one major outcast). At any rate, the attention is now on the food products that carry the most salt, namely cereals and processed foods, such as Cheerios, Kraft Dinner (yes, your favourite!)and ready-to-eat frozen meals. As these deliberations are taking place on how best to replace sodium while still retaining flavour and palatability of an otherwise nutrient-devoid, highly adulterated, cheaply manufactured product, pudgy toddlers all around the world are tucking in to a jar of pureed entrees or fruit purees, as they take their first few bites of “adult” food. Shockingly, industries behind these products appear to be flying under the radar, while other companies are  busy sweating out the salt. The numbers are staggering: a sodium content of more than 500 mg sodium per serving in pureed entrees and over 80% of calories from sugar in fruits which misleadingly carry names such as “Organic Unsweetened Apple Apricot Blend”. As in most cases, I think the demand for these products drives their supply, so I really think by affecting consumer behaviour, we can obtain the best outcomes. My suggestions would be for parents to make their own toddler food, which could often simply mean pureeing foods that the adults would eat for the toddler. In this manner, sodium and sugar content are under full control. Best of all, the toddler becomes accustomed to new flavours and textures, without relying heavily on sodium and sugar to drive their palate. Therefore, years down the road, they will navigate naturally toward the flavours of asparagus, beets, and squash (unsalted, mind you), rather than having to slather all their meals with a generous coating of syrup and sauce. Indirectly, many feeding behaviours can also be averted by giving toddlers a healthy start. Otherwise, many toddlers may be “graduating” to a lifetime of health problems.


About danirenouf

I have been a registered dietitian since 2003, and very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in industry, clinical nutrition, public health, and private practice. Currently, I am extremely excited about pursuing entrepreneurial ventures which start with my private consulting practice and branch out into the food and culinary industry. I am busy every day developing my own food products and recipes, adapting traditional cooking techniques and incorporating new and innovative ways to prepare nutritious, delicious food. I am passionate about everything food-related, and aspire to engage others in "getting to know their food" - not all of us are cooks, or need to be, but all of us need to eat.
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