Can you give your child a cupcake?

Recently, my husband had the chance to volunteer at my son’s holiday party at school where another parent asked him about my son’s eating style.

As my husband understood her, she said she thinks it is better to give children any treat they want in an effort to avoid the feeling of deprivation, which may lead to overeating later in life. I support her logic with modifications. While I try hard to limit our sugar intake, I focus much more on reading the ingredients and understanding what they mean.

As explained previously, I do not think my son feels deprived or left out because I look for alternative, similar foods to give him that he loves. As an example, one of the choices for the children in my son’s class at their holiday party was traditional cupcakes. If you look at the ingredients of all the major companies’ pre-packaged cake and icing products, you will find an overabundance of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup, artificial flavors, food dyes and sugar (and that’s just a start!).

Remember that since almost 100 percent of the soy, corn and sugar crops are genetically modified, it’s very likely the children consumed a bellyful of GMOs. More concerning to me are the food dyes and artificial flavors used to entice children to keep coming back for more. The food dyes used are banned throughout many developed countries because they are linked to behavioral problems, cancer and allergies. The artificial flavors are disappointing because companies are mixing up a concoction of chemicals that create tastes and colors that don’t exist in natural foods. Interestingly, one of the biggest chemical companies that create flavors is located right in Elizabeth.

It’s important to note that sugar is one of the top inflammatory foods you can ingest. Inflammation is so alarming, it deserves to be explained in detail, which will happen in next week’s column.

So what did I give my son instead? He ate a cupcake that looked as inviting as the others. It tasted delicious, had quality ingredients and it made him excited. There were no GMOs, artificial chemical flavors or food dyes. There are many brands on the market with premade mixes or you can make your own. European Gourmet Bakery, Arrowhead Mills and Naturally Nora are just some of the many boxed mixes you can find that, while not perfect, have ingredients your great-grandparents would recognize.

Samantha Adams lives in Jackson, with her husband, Greg, and her two sons, Gavin and Jackson. She works full time in medical sales and is working passionately to help to educate our community as it relates to our health and wellness. Visit her on Facebook on “If You Seek Nutrition.”

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