White Bread, No Crust - How Bad?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Opinions, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Expert Advice: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Nutrition: Big Kids, Expert Advice: Big Kids

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Are you spoiling your kids by cutting off their crusts? Credit: left-hand, Flickr

"During my daughter's refusal-to-eat-most-foods stage (which to be honest, is ongoing), I figured out that if I cut her sandwiches into cute shapes, she'll eat them.

"But as I pack her 25th camp sandwich, I'm thinking: That's a lot of white bread. I envy friends who pack hearty 22-grain sandwiches for their kids. Is white bread with no crusts as bad as it seems and if so... how bad?"

To find out, I called up Mommy Advisor Christine Palumbo, R.D., a nutritionist in private practice in a Chicago suburb, who's an adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University.

"Cutting off the crusts, are you?" I was hopeful at her jokey tone, which implied: This isn't a big deal. "Moms cutting crusts off goes back many generations," she continued.

"This is a situation where picking your battles is the best way to go. When you cut crusts off you're missing out on some of the nutrition in the bread, but it's not enough to worry about.

"Most kids like white bread because it's soft," she added. And delicious! But wait, isn't all that soft deliciousness bad for them.

Palumbo stands by her, "this isn't so bad" philosophy, and has some thoughts about how to make the healthiest bread choices that children will like.

Try white-wheat. "Look for one of the newer white whole-wheat breads and serve that to your children -- don't make a big deal about it; just serve it. That way, the child gets some of the benefits of whole-wheat bread but it's still white and soft and will be appealing to them."

Avoid high-sugar breads. "Oftentimes, breads marketed toward children will have more sugar, so experiment to see what a child will eat." Sugars (including sugar by other names like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) shouldn't be first or second on the ingredient list. Compare labels and pick a bread with lower grams of sugar on the nutrition facts panel.

Look for a short ingredient list. "If the list is short and includes mostly ingredients that you can easily pronounce and spell, that's a good sign," said Palumbo.

Get bread that's perishable. "Look for a bread that says on the label 'store in icebox' -- it most likely was made with fresh ingredients and without a lot of preservatives."

Try the bakery. "At a chain bread store or a grocery's bakery, those breads are so delicious because they are baked fresh with fresh ingredients."

Bottom line: How bad is it to feed a child white bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off? "This is not important at all," said Palumbo. Go forth and trim crusts.

Have you had a less-than-perfect parenting moment and you're wondering, "How bad"? Send it to Sabrina at PrincessLPink9@aol.com. She'll try to answer as many as she can.

Sabrina Weill is the founder of the pink, princess-y gift site: PrincessLovesPink. Many of the Mommy Advisors in this column are the writer's personal or professional friends.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.