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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

MadMonkeys Tue 22-Apr-14 15:13:03

The areas that really annoy me in terms of added sugar and salt are cereals and yoghurts. it seems impossible to get any of those without heaps of sugar/salt with the exception of porridge, which we eat a lot.

I make all our bread, in breadmaker, after DD2's allergies made commercial bread a nightmare. I was forced to check the ingredients in everything as we were trying to identify the allergens, and the ingredients of bread were an eye opener - so many additives.

I find most 'treat' foods - chocolate, sweets, commercial cakes and biuscuits - far too sweet. We have become used to a heap of sugar in our foods and it really isn't necessary.

I make most meals from scratch, especially since dd2's allergy phase, although I do cheat and use commercial pasta sauces sometimes (Dolmio Bolognese sauce has few ingredients, so that is my preferred choice) and curry sauces to save time.

I find that friends and family buy my kids too much chocolate - a bit now and again is fine but a whole easter egg, for example, is a huge amount of chocolate for a small child. Or maybe I'm just mean...!

mistlethrush Tue 22-Apr-14 15:18:08

We've always tried to give DS 'proper' food - homemade much of the time. His 'treat' Easter day was to ask for egg mayonnaise (homemade!) sandwiches for lunch!

Children's yoghurts can be shocking - DS got given natural yoghurt (out of 1kg tubs!) with some fruit or perhaps a tiny bit of honey when he smaller - he continues to have this now, quite happily.

worldgonecrazy Tue 22-Apr-14 15:30:08

It's not going to win me a voucher, but I would put Organix in the "junk but not quite as bad as some junk" pile. I have never bought pre-made toddler food. DD has always eaten exactly what the adults eat. I have a strong dislike to the idea that children need special food just because they're children.

UriGeller Tue 22-Apr-14 17:15:07

Oh the irony.

I think most people class pre-packaged processed food such as Organix as junk anyway. Its convenience readymeal stuff after all.

I say 'Yes' to real food, and that means 'No' to Organix.

ImAThrillseekerBunny Tue 22-Apr-14 17:25:34

I can recognise and spell both sugar and salt. I think most people can, and would count them as "real ingredients".

Mind you, I'm very good at spelling, and my DH is a biochemist so I think this is a pretty simple challenge. I think it would be tricker if you were dyslexic or flunked GCSE biology. Have they really thought it through?

Uzma01 Tue 22-Apr-14 17:25:37

As much as possible I do cook from scratch; at times will have some oven food (fish & potato products plus mixed veg.) I prefer to batch cook food & freeze into several portions - so I don't had to spend so long cooking all the time; thawing things out in the fridge overnight or in a container of warm water...

I find it helpful to have a stash of canned things (tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, butter beans tuna etc) as well as some frozen veg handy - easy to make into curries or add to homemade pasta sauces. Also I don't like cooking any type of meat on its own - it's always supplemented by lots of veggies.

I love baking cakes and biscuits - so I know exactly what's going into these treats.

Plus the kids love most fruits - so having a full fruit basket helps when they want snacks during the day.

Blu Tue 22-Apr-14 17:28:06

It isn't just the ingredients, but what actually happens to the food.

For example: OatsSoSimple - the 'Original' one is supposed to contain nothing but oats: SoFarSoGood! But what do they do to it to make it microwaveable? I saw a post on MN that said that it was so processed as to undermine the good in eating rolled oats. Is this true? Is OatsSoSimple junk, or good healthy porridge? I don't know, and I don't know how to find out.

It's a bit academic to me because I prefer real porridge and can see no difficulty in making it, but it is this sort of doubt that raises it's head unless you by everything in it's completely natural state.

jan2014 Tue 22-Apr-14 17:30:22

i find it so hard avoiding junk for dd. all the cereals have sugar loads of sugar in them, and because her tastebuds have acquired to want sugar, she wants sugary cereals over anything like porridge, which she says she 'doesn't like'. she is offered other alternatives.

i recently tried to switch her yoghurts to full fat natural yoghurt, and she wouln't have it . i tried to add different things even honey to make it more palatable and she still wouldn't have it, so i am back to sugar laden yoghurts. i can't afford yeo valley kids yoghurts which seems to be the only ones out there that look decent.

also, she has the organix fruit puree, i try to mix some in her yoghurt, but tbh its not working for us as even half a pot gives her loose bowels and a sore tummy... maybe just too much fruit.

JemimaJones Tue 22-Apr-14 17:44:31

I think one of the worst offenders is marketing Sugar free cordials and other products to children when they are full of even worse artificial sweeteners. Why do people believe that these are better.

UriGeller Tue 22-Apr-14 17:47:22

Blu Its funny isn't it? Ordinary oats are microwaveable. Add milk to a handful of oats and cook on medium for about 90 seconds.

"Oats SO simple" without the plastic, the factory, the diesel, the marketing etc etc

Tyranasaurus Tue 22-Apr-14 17:55:43

add me to the people who think organix is kind of junky

SacreBlue Tue 22-Apr-14 18:42:34

My DS is way beyond baby food at 15 but way back then it wouldn't have even occurred to me to buy ready made baby food, making from scratch was already ingrained in me from my own family.

That said I don't necessarily think it is a big deal to use pre prepared stuff, especially for convenience out and about, as long as you are aware what is in the product and it is balanced with fresh foods the rest of the time.

I do think, as said above, that it is important that foods purporting to not be 'junk' are actually not junk and not just jumping on the 'healthy eating' bandwagon hoping parents won't read the full ingredients list

Jinty64 Tue 22-Apr-14 19:24:11

When I was working full time I found it all to easy to take shortcuts and use ready meal, packets, jars, easy type food. Now I am at home I have much less money but more time to cook everything from scratch. I now bake all my own bread, make my own muesli and bake all our cakes and biscuits. It is not only healthier but cheaper too. I now find the taste of artificial sweeteners absolutely disgusting and yet I used to happily eat diet yogurts and drink diet juices.

Messygirl Tue 22-Apr-14 19:38:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Tue 22-Apr-14 19:38:44

I'm going to give this a go. We don't have much of the obvious junk, but there's loads of hidden junk in our food - cereal, yogurts etc.

AMillionNameChangesLater Tue 22-Apr-14 19:43:37

I give ds(2.6) natural yogurt with Heinz fruit puree in it. It sweetens it up for him, without just sugar. We have the puree anyway because ds2 will be being weaned in a few weeks and we got a load free. He seems to like it, but he also loves fish fingers. Which are processed, but i see them as a necessity when he won't eat anything else. I struggle to find the time to make my own version.

kazzawazzawoo Tue 22-Apr-14 20:04:49

I hate the fact that so many things are listed as'no added sugar', but have horrid sweeteners added.

My dd drinks juice, milk or water. However, most of her friends don't drink anything but squash or fizzy drinks, so we keep a bottle of squash in the cupboard for such occasions.

I try to always cook from scratch and don't buy ready meals.

idleweiss Tue 22-Apr-14 20:27:42

Same here kazzawazzawoo, who the hell thought putting aspartame and other horrific sweeteners in children's drinks or foods were a good idea!! Why not more natural sweeteners? Oh yes because it's cheaper to pump food and drink full of crap and slap a 'Sugarfree' label on it in the hopes that the consumer with doe eyed naivety will buy it and not ask questions!! Another thing I hate is how some companies try and hide/disguise additives and colourants in there ingredients lists. Parents should be made more aware of the different names companies use for these and what the effects these ingredients can have on children..and adults!!

Millie3030 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:29:39

We try and feed our little one who is 10 months as much natural fresh food as possible. We batch cook pasta, mashed potato, lentils etc and then batch cook chicken, red meat etc and can then mix and match. We try and give 3/4 pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables everyday and avoid 'baby yoghurts'.

I looked up how much sugar was in a small pot of a typical (well known brand) and the average is about a teaspoon, in one small pot! I couldn't believe it. With all the obesity in this country how can they justify this? I really don't understand? Babies 'learn' to like sugar and salt, so why do we think they need them? Why can't baby yogurts just have a natural bit of fruit to sweeten them, babies won't know the difference if that's all they have.

I always avoid aspartame, and unnatural sweeteners, I would rather a bit of natural sugar found in fruits. My little one adores fruit and would eat it all day long if he could. His treat is a piece of pineapple or strawberries.

I do find it difficult to find snacks that don't have salt in them, snacks that you can just have in your change bag, or car, for those times that are unexpected. Ricecakes and breadsticks get a bit boring, but I do have Organix carrot sticks and rice cakes as they have no salt. :-)

ImAThrillseekerBunny Tue 22-Apr-14 20:34:17

I like oat cakes as a snack - more nutritious than rice cakes or breadsticks IMO. Finding a brand that doesn't have added salt or palm oil requires some careful label reading though.

TheJumped Tue 22-Apr-14 20:48:43

I cook from scratch every meal - not necessarily hugely fancy meals but always with real ingredients iyswim. I have a veg box and a meat box delivered weekly, make my own breads and have a well stocked cupboard of spices, tinned tomatoes and pulses and dried carbs -pasta, cous cous and rice.

I do find it baffling and stressful when people don't do the same <snob>

But it's just cooking. A few knacks like pastry, thickening a sauce and browning meat, the rest is just preparing the food - the meat and the vegetables - to make them edible and hopefully taste nice, with some variation.

And DS has always, always eaten whatever we do, from 6mo. I don't plan around him at all, just cook and if he eats it he eats it and if he chucks it on the floor or doesn't touch it, fine too. I never cajole him into eating, and if he's hungry he can eat whatever he fancies. This has been fairly chocolate heavy this weekend, but then this eve he just ate loads of broccoli and none of the homemade chicken pie me and DH were demolishing! (Sauce was double cream, garlic, leeks, butter and bacon, some thyme, and pastry was butter and flour = real food) he hasn't eaten broccoli since he was tiny so I think his body was telling him to eat veg haha!

My main gripes are sugar and chemicals in quick snacky things both for adults and kids. I do eat crisps and so does DS (though less often than me, he's 2 so doesn't sit demolishing Pringles in front of Homeland) so I have found Organix carrot sticks and other snacks quite useful - I've just never been organised enough to carry the little Tupperware pots of lovingly sliced grapes and rice cakes around. Bananas are about as good a snack as I pack on the go. I do think there are more options for healthy snacks now like Organix than when I was little, which is good.

GetKnitted Tue 22-Apr-14 21:17:52

smuggly we already avoid junk, even give them salt and shake with the blue packets mysteriously smuggled away smile

PurpleCrazyHorse Tue 22-Apr-14 21:29:56

I bought a slow cooker and try to use that as much as I can. It is difficult for us to be directly involved in what DD eats during the week as she has breakfast, lunch and dinner out of our home (DH and I both work full time)

DD does have junky treats as we have the philosophy of everything in moderation is okay. So we do go through Maccy-Ds on occasion. I do however like to take picnics out and about at the weekend and DD eats a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. However price, convenience and healthy is often tricky to find on the road, we travel quite a bit.

CheeseTMouse Tue 22-Apr-14 21:31:26

I am weaning my daughter at the moment and the thing I find hardest is having something ready for her to eat at the point she goes in her high chair or when we are out. I can see how people can revert to snacky food. As it is, I will either give her what we ate the night before or have been organised enough to batch cook fresh sauces to freeze. I have also invested in lots of packed lunch boxes so there is even more to carry about. I look forward to the point when I can just give her a whole apple!

Tonight's success was a kind of egg fried rice with veggies which was quick to do.

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