Why are ‘Goldfish’ crackers bad for your kids + Download a list of 80 healthy snack ideas for kids

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Before I get into this blog post and the detailed explanation why you should not be feeding your kids with Goldfish crackers, I have a little disclaimer. The intention behind this post is not to judge or criticize you. I truly believe that parents always do the best they can for their children. My goal with this blog post is to educate parents about the potential risks associated with eating Goldfish and suggest better quality crackers instead.

I know how busy you are. I have three kids of my own, so believe me I understand and appreciate having a quick snack available for my hungry/grumpy/unreasonable child in “emergency” situations. But, just like with anything in life, we have to weigh the risks vs. benefits and make a decision after we know all the facts.

When I question parents as to why they are buying Goldfish crackers, nine out of ten times, the answer is: “We thought they are healthy”.

Why are Goldfish crackers advertised as healthy?

Goldfish crackers are advertised as containing no artificial preservatives and 0 grams of trans fat. They are fortified with Vitamins B1, B2, folic acid, calcium, and iron (all are synthetic sources). According to the label, some Goldfish crackers contain real cheddar cheese and natural ingredients. Looks good no? Keep reading.

Three reasons Goldfish crackers are bad for kids 

1. Goldfish Crackers Are Made With GMO Soybeans

Here’s the ingredient list of Goldfish crackers:

goldfish ingredient list

Until around mid-label ingredients look fine, but problems start after “Annatto vegetable oils”. These vegetable oils contain GMO (genetically modified organisms). Back in 2012, the company “Pepperidge Farm has been sued in Colorado for claiming that its Goldfish crackers are “natural” when they contain ingredients derived from genetically engineered soybeans.” (1)

Research suggests GMO soybeans could potentially be harmful to liver functions, damage the liver and cause toxemia, meaning the soybeans may contain toxins that could poison the bloodstream. In another recent study in Russia, it was discovered that GMO soybeans could potentially be harmful to infants and cause infertility problems.

2. Goldfish Crackers Contain MSG

Next, in the ingredient list, you will find “Autolyzed yeast”, which is a flavor enhancer also known as MSG or monosodium glutamate. Some people tend to be more sensitive to MSG than others and some of the side effects of autolyzed yeast include headaches, nausea, sweating, and chest pain. There is a lot of controversy regarding MSG (monosodium glutamate) out there. Some claim it is dangerous, some say it’s a myth. I found a good science-based article which concludes that MSG is dangerous due to its cumulative effect.

3. Goldfish crackers have too much sodium

The Goldfish crackers also contain high amounts of sodium, 250 mg per serving. In both children and adults, high intake of sodium can have dire side effects, including cognitive degeneration, kidney damage, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Better quality snacks for kids?

I’ve prepared a list of higher-quality snacks for kids you should keep in your pantry. You can get the list by following this link (no opt-in required):

80 Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids 

I recommend you print it off and keep in your pantry. Keep restocking when needed, or refer to it when your brain is foggy and you need some quick ideas.

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I’ve created a four-week course for parents of picky eaters called “Teach Your Kids To Eat Vegetables” who are tired of mealtime battles, using food to bribe or punish children and are ready to step into your power as a parent and teach children healthy eating habits without the struggle, conflict, and power over control.

Not sure if this course is right for you? Let’s chat! I offer 30-minute coaching calls for new families who are ready for a change.