What the F are we feeding our kids?

Have you ever put much thought into what your kids are eating on a daily basis?

From cereal in the morning, another birthday party at school, pizza for lunch, and then a visit to the drive-thru for a quick burger, fries and soda before you head off to another sports practice.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t realize how much sugar and junk food you’re kiddo is consuming every.single.day. Or, just never put much thought into it. 

Because, come on. We’re all super busy, right?

We work a zillion hours a week, are running to and from soccer, football, cheerleading and band practice and we ain’t got time for anything else, let alone putting a healthy meal on the table.


Here’s a typical day in the life of an 8 year old somewhere in America —

  • Wake up and grab a quick bowl of cereal with non-fat milk or a “healthy” cereal bar. See below.
  • Lunch time at school is usually pizza ordered from Little Caesars or Pizza Hut. Gogurt Squeeze brightly colored yogurt is the side and non-fat chocolate milk is the drink of choice.
  • Snack time can be goldfish or a single serving pack of Doritos nacho cheese chips. Oreo’s if you’re having a good day. Juice made from high-fructose corn syrup will wash it all down.
  • Dinner’s a cheeseburger with french fries from the nearest drive-thru or a frozen pizza that came from a box.
  • If there’s a party, you might get a birthday invite to Chuck E Cheese. Pizza, Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks (you don’t want to miss the ingredient list for that one below!), soda and candy here we come!

Here’s a few ingredient lists for some of the most common snacks/”foods” out there. Next time you’re at the kiddos school, check out the playground after lunch and you’ll see what I’m talking about ::

Note ** All of these ingredient lists were taken directly from each company’s website or directly from each product.

OREO —  Oreo ImageUnbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Sugar, Palm, And/Or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda, And/Or Calcium Phosphate), Cornstarch, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin(–)An Artificial Flavor, Chocolate. Contains Wheat, Soy

Gatorade Image

GATORADE COOL BLUE — Water, Sugar, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Gum Arabic, Ester Gum, Color




gogurt 1gogurt 2

YOPLAIT GOGURT — Isn’t yogurt supposed to be just milk and/or cream, probiotics and maybe some sugar? WHERE’S THE FRUIT? One thing that you should be aware of here is that there is NO REAL FRUIT LISTED ON ANY OF THE INGREDIENT LISTS. What’s that all about? Sneaky food companies trying to pull the wool over your eyes to make you believe it’s a healthy snack food.


Doritos Image

DORITOS NACHO CHEESE — Corn, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Canola And/Or Corn Oil), Maltodextrin (Made From Corn), Salt, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Whey, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Buttermilk, Romano Cheese (Part-Skim Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Whey Protein Concentrate, Onion Powder, Corn Flour, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Dextrose, Tomato Powder, Lactose, Spices, Artificial Color (Including Yellow 6, Yellow 5 And Red 40), Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Skim Milk, Red And Green Bell Pepper Powder, Disodium Inosinate, And Disodium Guanylate. Contains Milk Ingredients.

CapriSun Image


CAPRISUN COASTAL COOLER — Filtered Water, Sugar, Apple Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor.

Sounds like a bunch of sugar water and added apple juice. But there’s no apples on the cover, right? And where’s the banana also shown on the cover?



NutriGrain Bar Strawberry ImageNutrigrain Ingredient List Strawberry

NUTRIGRAIN STRAWBERRY BREAKFAST BARS — LOOK AT THAT! 51 INGREDIENTS! This Nutrigrain Bar takes second place for the most ingredients in a single product.

NOW, DRUMROLL PLEASE…First Place For The Most Ingredients Goes To…


chuck e cheese characterchuck e cheese cheesy garlic bread


Please, hold onto your hats!

PIZZA DOUGH, Enriched bleached wheat flour (Wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, Iron as ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Soybean oil, sugar, salt, yeast. Contains less than 2% Calcium Sulfate, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Soy Flour, Whey (Milk), Yeast, GARLIC MARGARINE, Liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, TBHQ and citric acid added to protect flavor, beta carotene(color), dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti- foaming agent added, LOW MOISTURE PART SKIM MOZZARELLA, Pasteurized part skim milk, cheese culture, salt and enzymes, PARMESAN CHEESE, Parmesan cheese (cultured part-skim milk, salt, and enzymes), powdered cellulose, corn flour or rice flour (added to prevent caking), and potassium sorbate (a preservative). Does not contain animal rennet, PIZZA SAUCE, Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), salt, spices, citric acid, garlic powder, and onion powder. Spices = basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, CHUNKY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING, Soybean oil, vinegar, blue cheese (pasteurized milk, salt, cheese culture, enzyme), water, egg yolk, contains less than 2% of garlic powder, lactic acid, natural flavor, salt, sour cream solids (cultured sour cream, maltodextrin, cultured buttermilk, cultured skim milk), sugar, xanthan gum, LIGHT RANCH DRESSING, Soybean oil, water, buttermilk, vinegar, maltodextrin, sugar, egg yolk, contains less than 2% of: garlic juice, salt, natural flavors (milk), xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and calcium disodium EDTA as preservatives, onion, monosodium glutamate, polysorbate 60, propylene glycol alginate, phosphoric acid, spices, lemon juice concentrate, natural color.

Pretty intense, right?


What if you…

  • Started reading ingredient lists instead of nutrition facts?
  • Made your kiddos lunch at home?
  • Prepped a few minutes the night before so lunch and dinner were ready for the morning? Hello, slow cookers, one-pan dinners and easy breakfasts!
  • Picked up nuts, fruits and simple veggies at the store to offer as a healthy after school snack? 
  • Let the kids shop with you and put them in charge of a few of their lunches during the week?
  • Checked out the local farmer’s markets and let the kids choose a new fruit or veggie to enjoy? And rewarded them with a few minutes extra playtime or video game time for being good troopers.
  • Meal planned your week on a Saturday or Sunday so you’re not caught off guard when the busy week hits and the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” comes up?


  • Just said “No!” to convenience and fast foods for a week and made your own instead?
  • Held a family meeting to discuss ways you’d love everyone to get healthier together?
  • Had a pantry raid and donated/tossed all the crap foods in your kitchen?
  • Started putting veggies into many of your home-cooked meals? (Things like spinach, grated carrots and chopped bell peppers works wonders).
  • Encouraged your family to try new things?
  • Started a garden (yes, you can plant a garden anywhere – windowsill, rooftop or a small section in the front or backyard that gets good sun) and got the kids involved? Herbs and small veggies are perfect for newbies. Google beginner or square-foot gardening. 
  • Made a commitment to cook dinner every single night for a week? Check out our FREE LIVE quarterly cooking challenges that help you become a rockstar in the kitchen – no stress allowed! 
  • Didn’t give up on yourself or your family because you know change doesn’t happen overnight?

What to do instead of eating the garbage that’s out there?

Here are just a few ideas for creating healthier alternatives to those junk foods above —

  • Buy a big tub of Organic Greek Yogurt or regular yogurt and stir in a little real honey or pure maple syrup and fruit to sweeten.
  • Make your own cookies.
  • Make your own french bread pizza by slathering tomato sauce onto a sourdough loaf and topping with cheese, meat and veggies. Bake until crispy.
  • Make your own two ingredient pita chips with pita bread and a little evoo and toasting in a toaster oven. Or swapping pita for corn tortillas and making your own tortilla chips.
  • Grab local, seasonal produce (depending on where you live, strawberries, tomatoes and peaches in the summer, pears and sweet potatoes in the fall, citrus, pomegranate and winter squash in the winter, and asparagus, zucchini and cherries in the spring) to fuel your body with the good stuff while saving $. 
  • Make your own Water Refreshers to quench your thirst. Or buy coconut water for post-game drinks.
  • Make your own garlic bread by toasting up a loaf of bread, rubbing it with a sliced piece of garlic and topping with real parmesan cheese and broiling until crispy and melted. Yum!
  • Make a simple green smoothie with a bit of spinach and lots of fresh and some frozen fruit to mask the taste of the greens. Talk about fast food and you won’t even notice the veggies. Pinky promise. 

Now, I’m not saying snacking on junk food on occasion is bad. In fact, my family lives by a relaxed 80% 20% rule. So, we aim for 80% healthy and 20% junk food for life. Sometimes it’s a good 70% 30% or 85% 15%. We try to provide a great foundation at home so we can enjoy meals out, birthday parties and just living life without stressing.

What’s important to remember (especially for little kids) is their bodies and brains are still super immature so serving up junk food on a regular and/or daily basis is not giving them what their bodies need as they’re growing into young human beings. 

Next time you want to reach for the boxes or drive thru, maybe take a quick inventory of what your kiddos have been eating lately. If you think it’s too much sugar and junk, try a few ideas above. 

As always, don’t stress. Just be aware and try making small changes at home so you (and your kids) can live life to the fullest and feel great! 

I’m not here to judge you — just to get you thinking outside the boxes (and cans and drive-thru’s) and give you a supportive place to create healthy change, whenever you’re ready. :)

Check out my Slow Cooker Movement that makes meal planning a breeze. 

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Big Hugs,


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  • Claire

    Shauna – I love this, and totally agree. Taking a peek at the ingredients before you buy something takes just a few seconds… and makes you really start thinking about what you’re putting in your body! Breakfast cereals are the worst I find – packed with about 5 different types of sugar, but they pretend they’re healthy! Love the suggestions you offer – keep going with this message cause it’s really important! :) Hugs, Claire

    • Shauna

      Hi Claire! Ahhh that is so awesome that it resonated! It was a toughy for me to put out there but happy you enjoyed the suggestions! Super big hugs back at you. xoxo ;) Shauna

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