Are You Abusing Your Child: A Slap in the Face or Lunch?

  You know when I see you spanking your child and screaming out of control. You're a bad mother. Not always, but at that moment, you are a bad mother.

I think we all know that, on occasion, we are all bad mothers.

Today, though I'm talking about one bad mother in particular. The mother who poisons her child (often while poisoning the planet).

Recently, I saw a grocery cart that looked like this (one pre-packaged, over processed, high fructose corn syrup item on top of another):

grocery cart

There was one remarkable difference. There was a baby in the cart at my grocery store.

You don't have permission to poison your children. You. Just. Don't.

If you're looking for ways to ensure that your children, and the planet, have a lifetime of illness, check out the Kraft Website. This school lunch is almost as effective as punching your child in the face. It's called the Mountains and Forest Sandwich. Catchy title, eh?


In the top left corner we have tomatoes, hurray! (sadly the celebration is about to end.) Moving clockwise is a Capri Sun. Landfill alert, I think we all know that a reusable thermos is the only way to go. Let's take a quick look at the "nutrition" involved in the Capri Sun juice.

Amount Per Serving:
Calories 90
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 30mg
Total Carbohydrate 23g
Sugars 22g
Protein 0g
Iron 2%

The Jello, as we know, this is a snack that no child should live without. Every meal should include dessert, no? *insert sarcastic tone here* Ignoring the fact that it's a treat (as opposed to a staple), can we get back to it being completely obnoxious and irresponsible to buy single serving packages?

Here are the Jello ingredients (if you made it at home there'd be sugar instead of HFCS):

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Gelatin, Adipic Acid, Sodium Citrate , Citric Acid, Red 40, Artificial Flavor.

And the nutrition information:

Calories 70
Sodium 40mg
Total Carbohydrate 17g
Sugars 17g
Protein 1g

Keep looking and we come to the sandwich. According to the website you'll want these ingredients.

KRAFT 2% Milk Singles
1 slice  OSCAR MAYER Bologna
1 hot dog bun
1 Tbsp.  MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1 lettuce leaf

Okie dokie folks, here's where you get to really abuse the crap out of your kids and the planet. A milk single is wrapped individually so not only do you get to poison them, but you can create yet more of a carbon footprint with your ever expanding pile of trash. The earth we leave behind will be polluted enough for them to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, long before heart disease.

Ingredients: Part-Skim Milk, Whey, Skim milk, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Citrate, Contains Less than 2% of Calcium Phosphate, Milkfat, Gelatin, Whey Protein Concentrate, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid as a Preservative, Cheese Culture, Lactic Acid, Artificial Color, Vitamin A Palmitate, Enzymes, Vitamin D3.

Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 4%
Calcium 25%

When you look at the percentages, understand that these numbers are based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. If your child is under 10 it's more likely that their calorie count is significantly less (1400-1800).

Oscar Mayer Bologna

Ingredients : Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains less than 2% of Salt, Sodium Lactate, Flavor, Sodium Phosphates, Autolyzed Yeast, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrate, Dextrose, Extractives of Paprika, Potassium Phosphate, Sugar, Potassium Chloride.
And the nutrition:

Calories 90
Calories from Fat 80
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 300mg
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%

The hot dog bun is the next ingredient. Let's use Ball Park Hot Dog Buns. The one in the picture looked very white and very fluffy.

Ingredients: Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate , Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Water, Skim Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oils. Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Dough Conditioners (May Contain One or More of the Following: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Mono- and Diglycerides), Corn Flour, Turmeric and Paprika (Color), Natural Flavor, Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Soy Lecithin, Cornstarch, Calcium Propionate Added to Retard Spoilage.

Calories 120
Calories from Fat 10
Sodium 230mg
Sugars 4g
Protein 4g

Miracle Whip dressing goes on top of all this loveliness. It's almost like donning a set of brass knuckles for the final Ka-Pow!

Ingredients: Water, Soybean Oil, Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Salt, Eggs, Egg Yolks, Mustard Flour, Artificial Color, Potassium Sorbate as a Preservative, Paprika, Spice, Natural Flavor, Dried Garlic.

Calories 40
Calories from Fat 30
Total Fat 3g
Cholesterol 5.0mg
Sodium 125mg
Sugars 2g

And one lettuce leaf. Assuming you pick a dark green leaf you'll add approximately.... nothing nutrition wise to the lunch, because it takes a cup of green leaf lettuce to even be measured.

Thank you for indulging my outrage. If young mothers everywhere follow the recipe set out for them by Kraft Foods they will give their child a host of chemicals and corn syrup (most likely from genetically modified corn) punctuated with the following for lunch:

460 calories
145 calories are from fat (more than 31%)
1015 mg of sodium (about 2/10 of a teaspoon)
48 grams of sugar (slightly more than 10 teaspoons and mostly from aforementioned GMO corn syrup)

I dare you to sit your child down and put ten teaspoons of white sugar in front of them, ask your child to eat it. Worse, try to get them to eat 10 teaspoons of straight high fructose corn syrup. I couldn't. I wouldn't. I'm going to beg you to love your children's insides as much as you adore the outside. And love the planet while you're at it!

*All labeling information was found at (where there is a wonderful produce section, by the way).


If you see any unhelpful comments, please let us know immediately.

MeMe Roth (anonymous)

Only a couple weeks ago we all thought it wasn't our business if our friends bought houses they couldn't afford... Now we're all paying the price. And we all pay the price when our friends and neighbors (as much as they love their children) choose to slowly make them fat and sickly. We'll all be paying the price on this obesity crisis--already are. Employers shell out $45 Billion for obesity according to the Conference Board and Duke U. studies... The grand total for a Grande America so far is $120 Billion annually... As obesity closes in on nearly 100% by 2040, 1/3 of today's kids are expected to develop diet-related diabetes, and HALF of minority children are. Katie Couric is wonderful in her efforts to Stand Up to Cancer! But if we'd just stand down at the buffet line, we might avoid up to 1/3 of all cancers. According to the WHO, 1/3 of cancer is obesity-related. We lose 100,000 Americans a year to cancers linked to obesity.

This is all very sad... and starts with what we "make normal" for our children as far as eating and exercising. Don't sacrifice your kid at the alter of KRAFT, Kellogg's and Coca-Cola. It's absolute abuse for any child to be sick who simply doesn't have to be. And yeah, it's ALL of our business.

Written in October 2008

Robin (anonymous)

Sadly, this lunch still looks more nutritional than what is offered by my boys' school daily for lunch. I allow them to by twice a month - thankfully they pick pizza day and not chicken nuggets with tater tots and a dinner roll day. Know what the vegetable of the month is on our lunch calendar? The potato!

Written in October 2008

Lorraine (anonymous)

The preschool my daughter attends does not allow juice (capri suns and the like) and heavily discourages junk food. Cookies and chips will likely return home unopened. Do you know that there is not one fat kid in the whole school. Not one! Could they all be genetically predisposed to being of normal weight or did diet play the biggest role?

Written in October 2008

Rose Latka (anonymous)

I love you Jess--- mmmruff go gettm girl!

Written in October 2008

Rose Latka (anonymous)

The daycare my daughter goes to, The Auraria Early Learning Center in Denver CO, still serves food on Styrofoam plates and have not band high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated fats from the menu... forget anything being organic. As a result she takes her own lunch.

Written in October 2008

James Burns (anonymous)

I completely agree that parents need to alter what they offer their children to eat. There is no comparison between healthy organic vegetables, and free range meat, if you have to have meat at all. I do not!

To me though their is a second component to the problem of obesity, lack of outdoor exercise. Children have become robots that spend unbelievable amounts of time in front of TV's and computer screens. I think parents need to be as responsible for making sure their kids get out side and "play" as they should be about what they eat.

Nutrition is one component, but fighting the Nature Deficit Disorder is certainly as big a concern.

Written in October 2008

Dimitri F. 100°

I am a dad. My 3 year old eats sprouted mung beans, whole apples (sliced up) and raw carrots for snacks, whole meal bread with some peanut butter, tofu, green beans, soba noodles, rice, sunflower seeds, broccoli and raw cabbage for dinner. Breakfast is mostly oats, corn flakes, soy yoghurt apple compote and the like.
He runs around the back lawn a lot but also indulges in play inside, good night stories but also thomas the tank engine videos (quite a lot of that sometimes) the is slim, strong and of course beautiful :-)
But if I gave him a hot dog roll (which I sometimes do) he will eat the whole thing and ask for another one at which point I give him another carrot or apple instead :-)
For treat there are dates, kiwi fruit etc...
All of these items we usually buy at the supermarket of some at the organic shop, like the soy milks.

There is a lot to say about the bad stuff that the corporates market (did you know that Kraft is a new addition to the dow-average, replacing AIG ...... [I thought that's funny] ) but we also need to have some compassion with their obvious misguidedness.
As soon as you try to extrapolate more profits by dividing a product composed by nature (i.e. corn into sirup and starch) you start running into trouble when you feed any organism just some parts of the whole instead of the whole natural thing itself.
The trouble is that Kraft, Nestle, Fonterra etc are in bed with firms like Monsanto etc. all whose big dilemma is how to make more profits for their major share holders instead of serving the public by providing wholesome nutrition. So they must promote what will further their profits and hail their Mountains and Forests Sandwich as the *right* thing to feed your kids. Would you like some McCoke with that?
It may be interesting to note that the world's main crops like wheat, rice, corn, sugar cane, meat and dairy are all represented in Kraft's kids lunch suggestion...

Maybe leadership begins with what we put into our and our children's mouths. Maybe, if we just won't buy those single-packaged dead foods. Maybe if we share more of the whole food stuffs and demand more of it on super market shelves or vege boxes grown by the family next door. Maybe even have a bucket garden if all the space we have available is a window sill... Maybe if we lead by example, we can turn some of this nutritional madness into the good ol' Eden that was given to us before we started to mess it all up.

Written in October 2008

Dimitri F. 100°

.... another funny thing: right next to the sanwich picture in your article Jessica, there is the Celsias adspace [the Going Green Network] advertizing The Pink Patch ..... might help people eat the Mountain and Forests Sandwich with confindence since all it takes is a patch to lose that inconvenient weight.... I am sure you can get pink patches for kids :-)

Written in October 2008

Jennifer Pahlka (anonymous)

As a mom who feeds her kid whole, organic foods, I agree with your basic point here. But the over-the-top tone should be reserved for your more self-deprecating writing (which is very funny, by the way -- I enjoy your writing). If you really hope to change the world, insulting parents who do things differently isn't going to help. Accusing them of abuse is way out of bounds, IMO. And if you're not trying to change others' behavior, then what are you doing? You're self-righteously congratulating yourself on your own behavior, and contributing to toxic divisions within our society. Save your outrage for the companies hawking this crap as nutritious and find some empathy for other parents.

Written in October 2008

I'm sorry, it's not over the top. It's poison and by pussy footing around it we're allowing it to go on.

Remember when you couldn't tell a smoker they were stinky? Same thing.

Written in October 2008

Jossy (anonymous)

Just Read the book Fast Food America It all started in the early 1900s Its All Californias fault !

Written in November 2008

Jeanette (anonymous)

I love this article. After having a nine-year-old diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, we have completely cut out HFCS and hydrogenated oils from our diet. We have done a complete 180. While it may be abuse, it is often ignorant abuse. If I had any idea about what I was doing to my children, no fruit snack would have ever entered our home. Education is key.

Written in December 2008

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  • Posted on Oct. 2, 2008. Listed in:

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