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Fed up by the junk in some of the food aimed at children? Dazed and confused by the number of additives and ingredients listed on the label? Then check out the No Junk Challenge from Organix – add your comment and you could win a £250 JL voucher! NOW CLOSED

(123 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 22-Apr-14 14:29:44

We have been asked by baby and toddler food brand Organix to showcase their new campaign - the "No Junk Challenge". They want to invite MNers to take part in the challenge which runs from 28th April to 4th May.

Organix say "We'd love as many parents as possible to take the pledge now in preparation for the No Junk Challenge and say 'yes' to real food and 'no' to junk. We are launching the No Junk Challenge to expose some of the junk in children's food and to ask parents to help us call on Government and the food industry to provide stricter controls to ensure better food for children. We also need to demand clear, easy to understand labelling that will help parents to make food choices for their families."

Here's how the challenge works - Organix want you to try to feed your family for a week using fresh ingredients, avoiding artificial additives and foods high in added salt, fat and sugar. Tell them how you get on, the high points, the challenges, and share your top tips and easy recipes.

If you already manage to avoid junk in your children's diets then you’re welcome to join the conversation with Organix on how to avoid the junk and choose healthy and nutritious food for your family.

If you'd like to be part of the challenge - take the pledge on this site and post on the thread to let us know you're in.

Organix welcomes any tips MNers want to share about improving your DC's diet and how to avoid junk food with your children - please share them on this thread. Please also think about any examples you can think of where there are junk ingredients in products – and any foods or ingredients you try to avoid giving your children.

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win £250 of John Lewis vouchers and a hamper of Organix food.

Sign up now to get ready for the No Junk Challenge next week.

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ

starlight36 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:42:57

I've made the pledge. DS gets freshly made food and eats everything we put in front of him! His older sister used to be the same but is a very fussy toddler and I've reverted to cooking food she will eat which is usually something processed. Hopefully this will motivate us to get her eating real food again.

CMOTDibbler Tue 22-Apr-14 21:52:39

Ds has always eaten the same food as us - we don't have childrens food and adults food.
I won't say that we are a no junk family, but what we don't have is insidious routine junk - no sugar laden cereal, manky yogurt or things pretending to be healthy but massively processed. We all like the odd bit of cake, but its an individual one from the local bakery because then you choose the one you really want rather than buying lots, that sort of thing

sharond101 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:56:11

My Son gets homecooked food for 95% of his meals. It bothers me when I read the back of food packets targetted at children and find the sugar content really high or the meat content in a chicken nugget for example to be extremely low (I saw one with 33% chicken!). I therefore choose to cook for us all as a family knowing what ingredients are used. where convenience is needed though it has opened my eyes to where ingredients like salt and sugar are hidden in foods that you would never imagine being in.

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Tue 22-Apr-14 22:11:22

I totally agree on the sweetener front. It is really hard to avoid them. It's not just kids stuff- there is artificial sweetener in fruity cider now too.

I don't get it, why don't they just make stuff less sweet. People would soon get used to it.

I loved the Organix range when my DDs were younger, but wish there were healthier snacks that were appealing to older kids too. Although they eat well, most of the stuff aimed at their age group is junk.

lottietiger Tue 22-Apr-14 22:15:49

I am lucky that my son really loves fruit so easy snacks are grapes, satsuma sand bananas. At home he also has pear, melon and pineapple but they are a bit messy out and about. If we go out I will make him a sandwich box up with a sandwich fruit, raisins and a bottle of water. At home he has fish pasta a roast or basically whatever we are having. I'm not saying I never resort to fish fingers but I try my hardest. The tHing I hate is when I get pressured by others to eat and drink stuff I don't want him to have, then I feel bad. Maybe a little chocolate or a Ribera won't hurt but if he doesn't have it he doesn't miss it.

tinypumpkin Tue 22-Apr-14 22:21:14

I like the organix range but I have to say, I find it very expensive.

TheDayOfMyDoctor Tue 22-Apr-14 22:51:11

Another who thinks organix are being a bit hypocritical. Their business depends on parents being attracted to convenience processed snacks and ready meals instead of freshly prepared food.

Their snacks might not be as bad as others, but I don't see how their fake crisps etc. are healthier than a piece of fruit or some oatcakes and cheese. Their fruit gummies have 65g of sugar per 100g, while a 100g of apple slices has 11g of sugar (according to a quick google search). They might not have a load of additives, but that doesn't sound that healthy.

Hopezibah Tue 22-Apr-14 23:14:31

I've taken the no junk pledge!

We've always loved Organix food because of their stance on no junk. We always try to avoid (or at least reduce) the amount of salt in the kids diets. For additives though, we like to try to trust the brand and that can be hard to do when some brands allow more additives than others in their food.

Thats why to be certain you need brands like Organix where you can trust all their products are of high standards and high principles when it comes to No Junk!

telsa Wed 23-Apr-14 00:03:11

OK. I try to keep additives away from children. Bad say to reflect on this though as we just have Easter behind us, which was utterly filled with endless sweets and chops. Oh dear, once a year and all that.
Sweeteners annoy the hell out of me, as do "fat free" sugar stuffed things. There is so much junk out there. It is not hard to avoids when cooking at home, but when out and about and a banana won't suffice, it can be tough.

ImAThrillseekerBunny Wed 23-Apr-14 00:11:05

Is everyone who's signing up to this baking their own bread, buying from an artisanal baker, or just going bread free? A quick check through my fairly ordinary kitchen cupboard shows that very little of it has anything that would be categorised as unrecognisable. I don't buy squash or biscuits, and the usual processed food suspects of fish fingers, baked beans, and pasta sauces have ingredients lists entirely composed of "real" food that anyone might have in my larder. The only thing the DCs regularly eat that contains factory rather than kitchen ingredients, is the Kingsmill.

AMillionNameChangesLater Wed 23-Apr-14 07:18:55

We buy Warburtons occasionally, but mainly I make my own

Kveta Wed 23-Apr-14 07:19:33

I cook all of our meals from scratch anyway, with the exception of a rare frozen pizza and even rarer fish and chips. The only aspect of our diet where the sugar feels hidden is the cereal which is the only breakfast 4 yo ds deigns to eat. But we tried some organic cereal last year and may as well have eaten the box it came in for all the flavour it was lacking, so I do see why cheerios and shredded wheat etc are so popular. Also, my handmade bread is a wee bit hit and miss, so we buy from the local bakers now - had to get some from tesco on Monday as my bread hadn't risen, and the bakers were shut, and it is vile stuff! Basically air and salt. I don't think I could go back to supermarket or branded loaves now!

Fishstix Wed 23-Apr-14 07:23:07

Mad monkeys, one of the Rachel's organic children's yogurts has no added sugar. It does have fruit juice instead but that's MUCh better than the huge volumes of added sugar in most yogurts. Whenever I see people feeding small babies Petit Filous it makes me want to snatch the pot away. So much sugar in there!

Fishstix Wed 23-Apr-14 07:25:40

And agree about organic making processed snacks. It forms a habit for kids who will then move on to other,less healthy alternatives as they grow. I Do however like that there is an alternative healthier snack, and let's face it who doesn't like to have something to stash in the car in case of delays or impromptu picnics. You can't keep carrot sticks in the boot for three weeks 'just in case.'

SteadyEddie Wed 23-Apr-14 07:37:21

I don't class Organix as junky, but mainly because I dont buy their ready meals, just the 'snack' range. My ds is 7 and has ASD but still loves their tomato crisps, rice cakes and the banana and date bars. At a time they were all he would eat, so I am eternally grateful to Organix.

I agree about yoghurts being a nightmare. I buy greek yoghurt and sweeten it with honey because I find most others way too sweet.

One thing I would like to add is that to do the 'no junk' challenge would mean not having school dinners (which we don't). I think its a real worry that many young children will be given a free meal every school day which includes some kind of stodgy cake every single day.

I would also like more emphasis on cutting out sweeteners in childrens diets. Much is made of being low sugar and salt, but no one seems to want to push the no sweetener cause. I don't know if its because manufacturers need it because they are cutting down on sugar.

trikken Wed 23-Apr-14 10:22:01

Some 'junk' is ok. Ds needs full fat stuff as he is underweight and so gets full fat yoghurts to keep him going. We need to know what the right amoint is per individual as everyone needs to eat differently. It would be useful if they made it clearer on packages as sometimes they make them overly complicated and confusing, therefore you dont know what is actually in a product and what you think is healthy is actually packed with sugats and additives.

AndHarry Wed 23-Apr-14 13:21:44

Another person who sees Organix et al as a bit 'junky', sorry.

I almost always cook from scratch but when I don't I'm always careful about reading labels and choosing low/no added salt versions. Sugar is a bit trickier.

FengMa Wed 23-Apr-14 13:38:18

We cook everything from scratch in big batches and then freeze it, eg a pork and apple stew with 8 different types of veg/legume served with brown rice/mash/quinoa. We'll have a couple of adult portions then a dozen toddler portions. We make sauces ourselves using either passata or a white cheese sauce as a base, pureeing some veg in (so she gets some veg even if she picks the chunks out and rejects them) and stirring in chunks of veg and meat/fish.

I make huge vats of fun fresh friut porridge, with mixed milled seeds and ground almonds and freeze them. In fact, I added milled seeds and ground nuts to virtually anything that lends itself to it. Otherwise, she'll have kiddy organic sugar free cereal or toast with 'jam' (no added sugar, fruit compote) or organic peanut butter.

We make our own yoghurts from natural yog, fruit purees, fresh fruit and seeds - whatever we have lying around. I make my own cakes and biccies using fruit puree instead of white/brown sugar. Still sugar but natural and has a less processed taste. She helps to make them. We freeze what isn't eaten. We also have organix etc bars and rice cakey type things on the hoof.

If she has choc, we would buy Green & Blacks. All of that said, when we're at parties etc, she has what's on offer (although I may sneakily peel coloured icing off/pocket the haribo) - don't want her to be the weird kid at parties.

We used to make our own sugar/salt free bread and freeze it in slices, but now DD is older, we have the 5 seed type from the supermarket.

We used to be 100% organic, including formula etc but now she's older (2), her grub is about 70%. Apart from the odd organic snack bar etc, everything is homemade.

HeartStarCircleSquare Wed 23-Apr-14 13:43:20

I signed up for the pledge after the gluttony of Easter eggs it seemed like a good idea!

My children are vegetarian which I find helps with healthy eating (no requests for fish fingers or nugget of any kind in this house) and also makes getting their fruit and veg easy (easily 10 portions a day). I buy plain yoghurt and add fruit or home made jam to it (not sugar free, I know but I've never tried to tell them NO sugar). Personally I worry more about additives and chemicals.

I wish the government would be willing to consider how much unhealthy eating costs the NHS and put some of that money toward subsiding healthy food. It's a struggle when we are struggling and see the cheap and cheerful stuff being sold next to the expensive healthy food.

HeartStarCircleSquare Wed 23-Apr-14 13:47:54

That sounds lovely feng, but must cost you a fortune!

FengMa Wed 23-Apr-14 14:17:35

We thought it would HeartStar, but when you make in bulk there is so much less waste. That stew I mentioned comes in at prob about �12-15 but it's 15 main meals, including some for us. It's different every time too as we stick in what's left from other meals: half a bag of uneaten spinach, left over parsnips, last three carrots in the bag etc. We pillage our garden and family's for fruit and veg and the kilo bags of oats, lentils and chickpeas are my best friends! Big pots of org natural yog work out cheaper than individual pots unless the latter are on a deal. We try to buy the meat and veg in supermarket deals and put it in the freezer where poss.

Once in the habit, not too time consuming either as you make something when you have time and are all having the same and when tight on time, get summat out the freezer!

Flossiecrossie Wed 23-Apr-14 15:46:05

I try really hard at home to avoid junk food and encourage healthy eating, but I fond it so difficult when we go out as a family to provide healthy food for children. The children's menus on offer are such a disappointment and I'm reaching the stage where I don't want to take my little one out for meals as she just ends up easting junk. Do chips have to be such a staple part of a child's menu?

HeartStarCircleSquare Wed 23-Apr-14 16:06:23

fengma I'm trying to get in to the habit of more bulk cooking... need a bigger freezer!

Blu Wed 23-Apr-14 16:28:36

It's interesting, isn't it, what we label as junk.

Fish Fingers. Actually Birds Fish Fingers are just fish, bread crumbs and a natural clouring, and some spices. Why are they unhealthy, junky or bad? I never had any qualms about feeding fih fingers to toddler DS. Cheap processed Nuggets, yes, because of the unidentifiable neature of the chicken, but I would have no problem with chicken breast covered in breadcrumbs bound with egg and baked.

In all truth, significant amounts of pre-prepared organic 100% fruit puree with just over 10% sugar would concern me more. I relied on grated apple, roughly chopped soft fruit etc.

bouncinbean Wed 23-Apr-14 16:49:39

For me signing up this type of pledge is easy as it's the way we eat anyway. Food is generally cooked from scratch with plenty of fruit and veg alongside meat and pulse based stews made in the slow cooker in winter or salad/bbq foods in summer.
I look in the supermarket aisles for easy food for travelling/days out but generally find it disappointing as it's full of cheap carbs and other artificial ingredients, eg chicken stew that is more potato than chicken or other veg, so rarely buy it.
Hate the way the food industry is so invested in trying to tell us what to eat and that their product us healthy. Give me real butter in moderation rather than some nasty low fat spread, yoghurt with a decent amount of real fruit rather than some sugar laden version targeted at children.
We also tend to have good quality meals and not too much in way of snacks. Agree with the other poster that regarding 'healthy crisps' is just setting a habit for wanting crisps - would rather my daughter reached for a drink or a piece of fruit if she wants something before or after a main meal.
I just worry that once she is older and at school that we are going to be the odd ones out because our eating habits are old fashioned and not the modern way of convenience food (albeit branded as being organic, healthy, etc.)

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