Food Plate

Bringing a child into the world is like no other experience. If you have children, you know what I mean.

No one can really prepare you for the sleepless nights, the vast amount of spitup and the never-ending loads of laundry. No one can really advise you on what to expect or what to do next. It’s an opportunity unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. And yet, the unconditional love for a child continues to trump all of the above.

But just like any love comes pain and fear—pain that our world is too dangerous, and fear that my daughter has been welcomed into a world where bakers and snack producers skimp out on producing the healthiest foods possible.

It’s a constant game of tug of war: Consumers on one end pull for the best of the best while bakers and snack makers pull for larger bottom lines.

But children’s health is a top concern. First Lady (and a mother herself) Michelle Obama spearheaded the “Let’s Move” campaign, which was designed to address the childhood obesity epidemic. Since its inception two years ago, “Let’s Move” exceeded its goal in the Healthier U.S. School Challenge with more than 1,500 schools meeting high standards in nutrition and fitness. Some of the nation’s largest food manufacturers pledge to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2015 through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.  

Then, with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, Mrs. Obama replaced the Food Pyramid icon with MyPlate, which helps consumers prioritize food choices by reminding them to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables and the other half whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. MyPyramid promotes the incorporation of whole grain products such as tortillas, crackers, bread and rolls/buns.

But for new moms like myself, nothing seems to be good enough.

According to, baked goods such as carrot bars, muffins and banana bread are some of the Top 20 best snacks for kids.

Thus, bakers and snack producers need to better convey these better-for-you messages, says Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, chair of the Committee of Nutrition for American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

“I believe using less fat, promoting baked versus fried and making the consumer understand that no trans-fat is not necessarily the only message that needs to be given,” Bhatia says. “[Trans-fat] is being replaced by other fats, including saturated, and the average consumer does not know that.”

At the end of the day, the average consumer may not completely understand the ingredients listed on the back panel of today’s snacks and baked goods, but moms know best. Knowing that my daughter will have a plethora of healthy choices that both taste good and are good for her is what helps me sleep at night (that and accepting the fact that laundry can wait until the next day).