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6 Foods That Can Harm Your Toddler

As a parent, you are concerned about foods that can harm your toddler. You know that some foods are ‘no-nos’ for children. You should cut down on sweets, as you know it decays your toddler’s teeth and also fills your little one with empty calories. However, as your child crosses his/her first birthday, you can probably relax your vigilance a little and allow him/her to sample more 'grown up' foods.

Toddlers’ taste buds are both highly sensitive and underdeveloped. Their taste buds are designed to enjoy sweet flavours. They can also appreciate salty flavours, but not sour and bitter food. Colourful and well-presented meals are usually eaten with more gusto.


The early years of your child’s development are vital because this is when likings are formed and patterns are set. It is important to know foods that can harm your toddler to keep them grow healthy. By giving bad foods such as processed, fried or sugary options, you are building a bad food habit for your toddler that can lead to obesity.

Moreover, many ingredients lurk in foods that can harm your toddler, their physical health and mental development are at great risk. Here are some of the most important foods that are bad for toddlers, which can be considered as foods that can harm your toddler.


Frozen meats

You may think a sausage or bacon sandwich is wholesome meal for your toddler. However, these frozen meats are full of nitrates which are preservatives and used to retain colour. Sodium nitrate is believed to increase risk of brain tumours, leukaemia and throat cancers. This is one among foods that can harm your toddler.


Flavoured drinks

Everyone knows sodas and colas are bad, but many little ones are allowed to have at least one drink a day. They are full of sugar (15 teaspoons per drink in some cases), artificial flavours, colours and tooth rotting acids. Even commercial fruit juices and fruit yogurt are full of additives and sugar.


Instant foods

Packaged noodles, pastas and soups say, 'Fortified with iron/vitamins/real vegetables'. However, they are among the foods that can harm your toddler as they have artificial flavours and chemicals linked to allergies and hormone imbalances. Artificial colours use coal-tar derivatives, which cause cause asthma and headaches. They also contain too much salt.


Packet chips

Chips are full of oil, sodium, artificial flavours and colours. Research suggests that chips interfere with glucose and insulin production, making you hungrier. Some chips contain acrylamide - a compound associated with developmental delays, making it one among foods bad for toddlers.


Breakfast cereals

Breakfast cereals are high on sugar, giving your toddler empty calories. Most of the original nutrients are lost during processing, and artificial colours, flavours and vitamins are added. Extrusion, which creates those interesting shapes, destroys and alters many vital ingredients.



Sugar is bad; are sugar-free foods better? No, artificial sweeteners are among the foods that can harm your toddler seriously. They are known to cause metabolism problems, cancer, headaches and hallucinations. Read packages carefully. If it says artificial sugar, stay away.

As your toddler grows older, allow her a few treats - chips, ice cream, soft drinks - now and then, or she may binge on them when she's older. Make sure to explain to her how unhealthy they are.

Story first published: Saturday, July 5, 2014, 8:50 [IST]
Read more about: kids diet
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