When it comes to learning more about the safety of the food we consume, it’s far easier to turn the other cheek than to do the research. This is significantly more difficult to do, however, when looking into the packaged foods given to our children in daycare facilities and schools.
Ariella Greenbaum made this point abundantly clear in her article, “What Are We Feeding Our Children?” on Popsugar.com. The daycare facility Greenbaum sends her daughter to includes meals as part of the tuition she already pays so, for the added convenience, she considered allowing her daughter to eat the meals provided.
To the average non-researching parent, the foods provided seem adequate. But to Greenbaum, well-versed in the pitfalls of additives and preservatives, this ingredients list was less than stellar.
- Plain bagel: “My research led me to several articles,” said Greenbaum, “including one from Discovery.com, which noted that L-cysteine, commonly found in commercial breads, comes from human hair oftentimes from China.”
- Sara Lee blueberry muffin: contains a thickener, vegetable emulsifiers, raising agents, and preservatives.
- Generic raisin bran: high fructose corn syrup is the key ingredient
- Meatballs: Greenbaum opted to make her own meatballs for her daughter upon learning that, “the meatballs provided by the school contain vegetable shortening, sodium stearoyl–2-lactyate — a supposedly nontoxic food additive tested by the FDA on rats and lambs — calcium propionate, which is a preservative often found in bread, and sodium phosphates — additives that doctors are linking to higher rates of chronic kidney disease, weak bones, and premature death.”
- French fries: Greenbaum said she considered allowing her daughter to eat the baked french fries provided from the school until she learned they included disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, which keeps the potatoes from turning brown. She ultimately chose to make her own french fries.
- While the school offers some fresh fruit, Greenbaum says much of the fruit options are of the canned variety with added sugar and BPA
When she asked the daycare center about these less-than-stellar food options, the school administrator admitted that they were “required to take the lowest-cost service when they put the food service out for bid.”
Obviously this is not the first time a parent has had an issue with the food provided through daycare centers and schools; it is an issue nationwide, addressed in part by First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Lady has been met with some cheers and some grumbling, depending on which kids are asked and which camera phone photo is posted.
But as difficult (and sometimes confusing) as it is to read through Greenbaum’s account of the additives and preservatives provided by her daughter’s daycare center, it is at the very least refreshing that she acknowledges the lack of time and money the average parent has to actually do something about this issue.
Most parents these days do not have the time or financial resources to feed their children completely chemical-free and natural foods. But being aware is the first step in conquering this ever-growing problem. Even a little step to improve your child’s health can go a long way.
One step at a time is probably the best plan of action for most parents, who can look into the heaviest food culprits and build from there.