Kids, Let’s Get Real: 3 Reasons Why Kraft Singles Are Not a Health Food!
Many of us in the nutrition community were stunned by the recent news that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional organization I belong to, granted Kraft Foods permission to use the Academy's Foundation "Kids Eat Right" seal on, of all things, Kraft Singles packages, the notoriously processed, faux-cheese product!
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), Food As Medicine Education Director (cmbm.org/fam) and whole foods activist, this news was particularly hard to swallow, not only for me, but also for many of my RDN colleagues who have shared their outrage and expressed their strong objections. Approximately 12,000 individuals took action and signed the "#Repeal the Seal" petition at change.org. And I am pleased to report that the Academy responded to their member concerns, took action and is in the process of terminating this controversial agreement with Kraft Foods Group. In addition, the Academy will be hosting a meeting soon (which I will be attending) to critically examine their corporate sponsorship policies and industry relations.
For those of you in charge of grocery shopping, tirelessly working to feed your families in a healthy way, please don't be fooled by food industry deception. To help you do that, here are my "3 Reasons Kraft Singles Are Not a Health Food".
Reason #1: They're not even cheese, for heaven's sake.
As it says on the label, those Singles slices are a "pasteurized, prepared cheese product." Whereas real cheese comes complete with nutritional value, Kraft Singles score at the bottom of the class, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Kraft Singles are a nutritionally bankrupt substitute for the real thing and a poor trade-off for so-called convenience, so opt for real cheese instead.
Reason #2: They're encased in plastic!
What's worse than a "pasteurized, prepared cheese product?" One that's sheathed in plastic cling-film! The wrapping on all those Kraft Singles raises concerns about endocrine disruption, which is particularly alarming considering those slices are being targeted to and eaten by kids. The environmental impact of plastic wrap isn't pretty either, so consider that one more reason why you’ll want to skip putting this stuff in your shopping cart!
Reason #3: They're made with icky ingredients.
Feeding our kids high-quality meals means feeding them whole and healthy foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed, not a “pasteurized, prepared cheese product.” When it comes to ingredients, you have to consider: are they organic, local, and/or non-GM (genetically modified)? As they say, consider the source. What’s in your food – and what your food was fed – matters.
In short, the healthy choice is to leave Kraft on the shelf and out of the bodies of our kids. And what else can you do? Be sure to download Environmental Working Group’s Food Scores app to make shopping for safe and wholesome foods a breeze.
For more ideas on how to enhance your health with ease, take a look at 7 Steps to a Healthier You!
– By Kathie Madonna Swift, MS RDN LDN FAND EBQ with additional reporting by Kate Doyle Hooper