by Minodora Campeanu
Last updated on 20 February 2020
There is a long list of foods children should avoid or consume in moderation. Some of these foods make life so much easier, so with time, they become part of your children's daily diet.
We all know that processed foods, canned foods, ready meals, and sweets are not healthy options. For some parents, the list of unhealthy foods is crystal clear, but sometimes it is just hard to avoid them. Here are four foods that contain more sugar than you've imagined and components harmful to your child's health.
The package in which they sell the popcorn has perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These keep the grease inside the bags. The main concern is that the PFCs break down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which some studies show it might cause cancer. 
Microwave popcorn has a buttery flavor. To achieve the aroma and the taste, companies add diacetyl. The substance is not harmful if you eat microwave popcorn once or twice a month, but it can cause respiratory problems if inhaled over a long period. Popcorn lung is one of the diseases which affects the bronchioles.  It is not a common condition, but it doesn't mean it cannot happen after a while. A man in Colorado developed the problem after ten years of eating microwave popcorn daily. 
Your children do not need to stop eating popcorn altogether. Instead, they should have air-popped or stove-top popcorn. If you are worried that they will not like it, you can experiment with different flavors. Popcorn tastes great with grated cheese or spice mixes. You could try oregano, paprika, cinnamon, rosemary, etc. It is much healthier and free of chemicals.
A breakfast that includes cereals is so easy to prepare. You can make a super delicious meal by adding yogurt, fruits, seeds, nuts, milk, etc. The downside is that breakfast cereals are refined carbohydrates that contain a lot of sugar. If consumed regularly and in high quantities (more than 25g per day), added sugar can lead to chronic illnesses.  The problem is that most people, especially kids, don't calculate how much added sugar they consume, and it is easy to cross the limit.
The main target of the companies that sell breakfast cereals is children. The packaging is so attractive that everyone ends up associating breakfast cereals to a fun and joyful time. 
The worst part is that the companies make you feel guilt-free by adding low-fat, multigrain, or whole-grain on the box. These claims don't mean that the cereals are healthy. If you pay attention to the nutrition facts, you will notice that they contain plenty of sugar. They also fortify them with vitamins and minerals, which also make people think they're healthy. 
You could always opt for a nutrient-dense breakfast. Eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt with fruits and nuts, etc. are healthy choices. Just make sure you are aware of the ingredients and nutritional value of your meal.
Salami, ham, cured, and smoked meat is easy to add to sandwiches. Children don't usually have the patience to sit down and have a proper meal, so they prefer something that they can have on the go. Cold cuts make it very easy for parents to prepare school lunch. They don't make a mess, are tasty, and a good source of protein. But cold cuts are far from healthy. These processed meats can cause multiple health issues when consumed regularly.
Processed meats can cause heart problems, hypertension, stomach cancer, IBS, and other chronic illnesses. The studies cannot blame cold cuts entirely, but there is enough evidence to show that a connection exists. The main reason is the presence of harmful chemicals, such as nitrite, which can turn into nitrosamine (a chemical that causes cancer). 
Smoked deli meats pose an additional threat. Smoking preserves meat longer, especially in combination with drying or salting. However, smoking allows polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form. These harmful compounds can also cause cancer. 
Besides, cold cuts can be high in table salt. A diet with a lot of sodium can lead to heart issues, stomach ulcers, and, in some cases, hypertension. Children can develop these problems over time if they don't limit processed meat consumption. 
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