How much do we know about hot dogs and nuggets? Read on to know what is in these 2 seemingly harmless foods and how bad they actually are.

Why do most kids love chicken nuggets so much? Sometimes, too much!

As parents, avoiding such foods when we take our kids out for a meal could be a challenge. Even if we avoid fast food, these items are usually still found on the kids’ menus in other restaurants.

hot dogs and nuggets

Hot dogs are a favourite among kids as they are just too easy to eat.

Of course, it goes to say that we can make the choice to not let our kids have these foods, but I know this is easier said than done.

I’m sure we’re all aware that hot dogs and nuggets are specially marketed to kids (and parents!) in the guise of being nutritious, with advertisements boasting 100% meat content in hot dogs and 100% white chicken meat in nuggets. But what gets kids hooked on them is definitely the taste and texture.

hot dogs and nuggets

Chicken nuggets can be commonly found on kid’s menus at many restaurants.

Both these foods are easy to eat, spongy in texture, have a sweet aftertaste and are very, very salty. Quite a contrast to mum’s homemade, nutrient-packed chicken casserole which is usually strewn with a healthy portion of veggies!

So the question is: if hot dogs and nuggets taste yummy to our kids, why are they bad for them (and us too)?

Nutritional facts of hot dogs and nuggets

Let’s have a look at kids’ daily dietary requirements.

hot dogs and nuggets

(Sources: https://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/children/nutrition_calorie_needs.htm, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/many-grams-fat-per-day-should-children-have-5467.html)

Now, here are the nutrition facts of hot dogs and nuggets compared to a healthy chicken soup:

hot dogs and nuggets

(Sources: https://www.mcdonalds.com.sg/our-food/nutrition-calculator/, http://www.nutrition.com.sg/atd/atdfood.asp, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_soup)

*The fat % would be reduced if you choose not to sauté the vegetables before boiling, and use lean chicken meat. In addition to being low in calories, homemade chicken soup is packed with vitamins, potassium and fibre.

Based on the nutrition facts shown, it is clear that hot dogs and nuggets are way too high in sodium and fat. However, there are more dangerous facts parents need to know about hot dogs, nuggets and all processed food.

Risks of consuming processed foods

There is evidence that links eating processed meats such as hot dogs to childhood leukaemia and other forms of cancer. The culprit is sodium nitrite that is used as a chemical additive in processed meats.

Other deli meats such as luncheon meat, salami and bacon carry the same risk. Preservatives such as sodium nitrite inhibit certain bacterial growth and preserve colour during the curing of meats.

hot dogs and nuggets

Other deli meats also contain high amounts of sodium nitrite.

This is a serious threat especially to children. Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their risk of a brain tumour, while children who eat more than 12 hot dogs a month have a 10 times greater risk of developing leukaemia.

We spoke to Shania Khialani, a dietician/nutritionist at Marie Claire O Shea Dieticians, who shares, “(hot dogs) should only be consumed in moderation as they can be a source of ingredients associated with health problems. Hot dogs are often high in sodium and saturated fat linked to an increased risk of heart disease.”

hot dogs and nuggets

Cooking meats at a high temperatures like barbecuing which creates char marks on meats, promotes the production of carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

She adds, “A recent meta-analysis study also found sausage consumption to be associated with increased gastric cancer risk (Zhu et al. 2013). This is linked to the high nitrite compounds found in processed meats and production of carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from cooking meat at high temperatures.”

Chicken nuggets come with their own set of hazards. A documentary released in 2004 describes McDonald’s chicken nuggets as chickens “stripped down to the bone, and ‘ground up’ into a mash, mixed-up with a variety of stabilizers and preservatives, pressed into shapes and deep fried, freeze dried, and then sent off to the closest McDonald’s.”

hot dogs and nuggets

The additives in chicken nuggets are very suspicious. It should never be the first choice for a kid’s meal.

In 2003 McDonald’s changed over to white chicken meat although they are said to contain only 50% of actual chicken meat, with the balance being soy or corn derivatives, stabilisers and other synthetic ingredients — including a type of silicone used in cosmetics called dimethylpolysiloxane.

Making healthier choices

Now that we parents are aware of the health hazards posed by these deceivingly yummy foods, how do we go about making healthier choices in our kids’ diets? Here are some tips:

hot dogs and nuggets

Why not try making wholesome and delicious home-made chicken nuggets? Serve them with a side of veggies for added nutrition.

– If your kid is hooked on nuggets, why not try making your own? Try this healthy and delicious recipe once, and your kids will definitely ask for more!
– If your kids need to have hot dogs, buy bockworst, a German sausage which doesn’t have nitrites.
– Instead of hot dogs you can also opt for fresh sausages from a gourmet shop, which usually include good-quality ingredients and have no preservatives. If you are in doubt, speak to the vendor and they will clarify the ingredients for you.
– Make healthier choices when you eat out with your kids. Swap chicken nuggets for a grilled chicken sandwich or french fries for sweet potato oven fries.
– Be consistent in adding a healthy portion of veggies and fruits into your kids’ diets. Don’t hesitate to reward them with an occasional homemade treat!

hot dogs and nuggets

When eating out with the kids, try an option like a grilled chicken sandwich instead of processed food.

We hope this article gave you the information you need to make healthier choices with your family’s meals. What are your thoughts about letting kids eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

SOURCE: http://sg.theasianparent.com/why-are-hot-dogs-and-nuggets-so-bad-for-kids/?utm_content=buffer49954&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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