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How many of you grew up eating grilled cheese sandwiches as a kid, opening that wimpy piece of plastic-like cheese out of the plastic it came in with udder delight to get your cheese sandwich fix? Hands raised? You’re not alone. Most all of us grew up eating grilled cheese sandwiches and likely, those cheese slices we used came out of a Kraft package or generic knock-off. While most of us don’t even qualify that as real cheese now, apparently, the government thinks differently!

Cheese Slice ‘Products’ Get Kids’ Nutrition Seal of Approval

Not only are cheese slices no longer allowed to be called real cheese, they’re now called cheese ‘products’ due to all the chemicals and additives they’re made with to help them hold up better on sandwiches. Regardless of their title change, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has actually deemed them as one of the proper sources of calcium for children! They’re now given the “Kids Eat Right label, which is to show consumers what products at the store are healthy for children to eat to get proper nutrients in.

Are you kidding??!!

Not only is cheese pretty much one of the most addicting substances in our food supply, it’s also one of the least unhealthy. Those fancy packages may look healthy, but when you understand how cheese is made and how highly processed cheese ‘products’ are, we bet they’re not something you’d be recommending for any child you know!

Here are the ingredients on a Kraft cheese singles label: cheddar cheese (milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), whey, water, protein concentrate, milk, sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, milkfat, gelatin, salt, sodium phosphate, lactic acid as a preservative, annatto and paprika extract (color), enzymes, Vitamin A palmitate, cheese culture, Vitamin D3.

Any food with that number of ingredients should not be deemed a food, especially when it contains dairy lactose, known to cause allergic reactions in many people, and milk in any form which poses tons of health risks including mood swings, hormonal changes, and even cancer.

But this comes as no surprise – one of the largest supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is … you guessed it – the dairy industry. They’re a large reason why the food pyramid recommends dairy as a source of calcium for children and why these ‘products’ are still recommended to children everywhere. While it may be a simple trade of the food industry, it’s misleading and downright wrong to let organizations influence such labels on highly processed foods like commercial cheese products.

Better Sources of Calcium for Children

For all of us, children included, our answer to calcium intake and strong bones is not found in a cheese ‘product”. It’s found through plants. Collard greens, dried figs, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, oranges, almonds, tofu, and many other plant-based foods are all incredible sources of calcium our bodies need and prefer. They are easy for the body to absorb and extremely nutritious for children to eat in order to build strong, healthy bodies.

The best part? They’re real food!

Let’s start slapping labels on signs at the produce section instead of food you have to unwrap out of a piece of plastic that feels like rubber, shall we?

Lead Image Source: Mike Mozart/Flickr