A Healthier Kraft Dinner

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There seems to be no end to the lengths processed food companies will go to try and convince us that their nutrient-deficient, harmful food stuffs are good for us. I think a better strategy would be to just admit that they’re garbage and that eating them isn’t going to do you any favors. That way they’ll target the “eating out of spite” market, which only seems to be growing these days (think KFC Double Down).

Deep breath. If you’re wondering what inspired my current rant, it’s a product being pushed on parents called “KD Smart.” KD Smart is Kraft Dinner with a minuscule amount of cauliflower blended in to the pasta. And this is supposed to make it healthy. In case you’re forgotten, Kraft Dinner is nothing but white flour with a fluorescent orange chemical “cheese” sauce poured over top. The makers of Kraft Dinner would like you to believe adding a little bit of cauliflower will magically turn it into something that’s good for your kids.

In fact, the product is being marketed as a way to sneak vegetables into your kid’s diet without them noticing. Never mind that you would be better off eliminating additives and flavouring from your child’s diet so that they learn to appreciate the look and taste of real food. Apparently, it’s a more viable strategy to bury real food in a sea of the artificial so that your kids are fooled into eating something good for them. For this, Kraft Dinner wants you to believe you’re being “smart.”

The bottom line is: KD Smart isn’t good for anyone. Just because there’s a little bit of a good thing mixed in with the bad, doesn’t make it “good for you.” Processed food is processed food. Taking a healthy food like cauliflower and mashing it, processing it, converting it into something no longer resembling cauliflower and mixing it with harmful ingredients means that you no longer have a healthy food.

The food processors are relying on a tactic I like to refer to as the “myth of moderation.” This idea that consuming bad foods in small amounts is somehow dodging a bullet; like your body isn’t going to notice it’s being inundated with toxic chemicals every other meal rather than every meal. The damage done by processed foods is significant. It’s not going to be negated just because you had a salad for lunch or because there’s a piece of cauliflower mixed in. You can’t work off food additives at the gym, a piece of broccoli doesn’t negate the effects of trans fats and MSG, which are damaging to your nervous system, no matter how few calories you consume with it.

People often justify the existence of these “healthier versions” with the idea that they are better than the “worse” option. In this instance, “is KD Smart better than regular KD?” My answer is no. Aside from the fact that you’re still getting all the damaging ingredients with KD Smart, the real damage done is to your psyche. Believing that this “food” is somehow good for us, or even believing that it’s “not that bad” for us, colonizes our minds with lies. If we believe these lies, our entire means by which we value our foods is distorted. We no longer have the ability to evaluate real food from fake. We no longer know what real food looks like, how it should be handled and especially how it tastes.

If you think I’m exaggerating, try to get a kid raised on processed foods to eat a piece of cauliflower. Not fair, right? No kids like cauliflower. OK, try to get them to eat a carrot stick, a piece of celery or some kale. Heck, I’m betting most of them won’t even eat an apple. Even adults who eat a mostly processed food diet will begrudgingly wolf down a vegetable out of a sense of obligation, more than enjoyment. Giving in to the seduction of the artificial means we no longer value the real.

By acknowledging these “foods,” you only give them power. Do the world a favour and ignore what the food processors push on you and opt for real food. Now that would actually be “smart.”

Author by Doug DiPasquale

Editor’s Review:

First off as a child I never ate a veggie or fruit of my own accord without being threatened. Water, milk and 100% juice was not in our vocab. Cereal was a sugary coated breakfast, and if we were given rice krispies it was with a side of sugar dish. Thinking back I’m sitting here completely grossed out at my childhood meals. The reason I’m guessing was that my mother was young, over whelmed and done with the fight, food was food at least we were eating! I know I was sent to school with a lunch that consisted of an overly mayoed sandwich, an apple (always returned), a bag of chips and a May West bun. Again…yuck, but back then it was a loved lunch and I was the envy of my friends.

Flash forward… today my main drink is water, I love all veggies and fruit, and salad isn’t a punishment but a choice. Meals from scratch are a delight. HOWEVER I have 2 children, little girls, my 4 year old will literally starve herself then eat a cooked veggie, even getting her to eat plain chicken or roast etc is a battle. One of which I will readily take on at times. But I will admit that her diet does involve chicken nuggets and hotdogs. Her breakfast is a whole grain sugarless cereal and a yogurt with a 100% fruit juice. Her lunch is a whole grain sandwich with an apple (not returned), and supper may be processed but she does request raw carrot sticks. My daughter will ask for carrot or apple as a snack in the afternoon, and I keep trying to offer her healthy this and that. I will not give up but I will also not beat myself up over some of the less “healthier” choices. I hope she ends up loving it all eventually.

My second daughter, 2 years old, will eat a full garden salad with grilled chicken, sit her in front of a plate of potato, turnip, cooked carrot etc and she is one happy baby. Yet she will not willingly eat a carrot stick or apple slice. I did the same thing on both girls in regards to feeding them as babies, and both were breast fed, my oldest til after a year old! What can I say, as a mother you try try try. My one accomplishment is that they do not drink apple juice and that they prefer water to all else. It’s an ungoing food battle once children know they have the power to refuse what you have on that spoon, but making us feel bad for other decisions is not right. I’ve sat and cried at the supper table over trying to properly feed my girls, and stressed over what they will eat over what they refuse, only to be told by Doctors that it will all work out and stressing over it will not help anyone. So it irratates me to read these articles that I feel slams parents. In saying that my kids do not eat KD so I’m not defending it’s consumption for my own guilty conscious, I would not look down at parents that do buy this product. I’m also a Mom that wouldn’t look at a child taking a public tantrum in disgust…been there and done that! Cut Mommys some slack please we are fighting the battle!

 

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