According to the box, it's a "good source of protein" with "real cheddar cheese" and a "good source of 7 vitamins and minerals".
What the front of the box doesn't tell you is that it's also a good source of 76 ingredients, includes 4 forms of sugar, even more forms of salt, and a whole collection of noxious preservatives that we weren't meant to eat...ever.
A quick look at the front of the box goes against the adage "eat your colors." We've got yellow, brown, and brown.
Let's break it down...
Pasta and Cheese Sauce
1. water - yes, good...water is good.
2. durum wheat - what pasta is made from
3. semolina - coarse, purified middle of durum wheat, common in pastas
4. whole grain wheat flour - not great...but better than a fake food
5. egg white - not bad
6. water - more water!
7. pasteurized cultured milk
8. salt - you get plenty of salt from natural sources
9. enzymes - who knows what this even means...you know how many enzymes there are? That's like saying, "we're going to have weather in the forecast."
10. annatto (color) - derived from seeds of achiote tree
11. whey - protein, the liquidy stuff you see before you mix up your yogurt
12. soybean oil - derived from soybeans, and unless otherwise noted, GM soybeans (genetically modified which is no bueno). Soybean oil slowly hardens when exposed to air so it's also good for printing ink and paint formulations. Not Good.
13. modified corn starch - thickening agent
14. sweet cream - cream that is sweet...and not healthy
15. nonfat milk
16. sodium caseinate - stabilized molecule of sodium hydroxide and caseinate (a dairy protein that has been directly linked to cancer...it is bad).
17. wheat flour
18. whey - already seen this one
19. pasteurized milk - milk with a 3 week shelf life
20, cheese culture - fermented cheese
21, salt - enough salt
22, enzymes - again?
23. sunflower oil - oil compressed from sunflower seeds, again, an oil...not particularly healthy. Most "vegetable" oils aren't healthy at all. They are 100% fat and are linked to heart disease and obesity.
24. maltodextrin - food additive commonly found in sodas and candy
25. salt - more salt?
26. sodium phosphate - generic term for salts of sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid...common meat preservative...not food
27. citric acid - chemical, preservative
28. lactic acid - found in sour milk products, what causes the curdling in fermentation and gives sourdough bread its sour flavor
29 and 30. butter (cream and salt) - not healthy
31. whey protein concentrate - concentrated animal protein
32. acetic acid esters of mono- and digycerides - what? it's an emulsifier
33. potassium chloride - salt composed of potassium and chlorine, used to be put into fire extinguishers to put out fires
34. disodium phosphate - salt, used as an anti-caking additive in powdered products
35. salt - yes...more salt
36. maltodextrin - food additive commonly found in sodas and candy
37. citric acid - chemical, preservative
Beta Carotene made from...
38. corn oil - oil pressed from corn, genetically modified, questionable corn
39. beta carotene (color)
42. sugar - well they couldn't do much to screw up corn...except add MORE sugar.
43. potatoes - yes, good. potatoes
44. vegetable oil (either canola, corn, cottonseed, palm, soybean, or sunflower - basically whichever is cheaper at the time which is more than likely the unhealthiest, cottonseed IMO...who eats cotton??)
45. dehydrated potato
46. salt - (sigh) more salt
47. disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (color retention) - binding agent
48. dextrose - another way they try and trick you. Dextrose is another term for glucose, which is sugar
Breaded Fish Sticks
49. minced pollock - fish
50. wheat flour
51. niacin - Vitamin b3
52. ferrous sulfate (iron)
53. thiamine mononitrate - vitamin b1
54. riboflavin - b2
55. folic acid - b9
57. modified corn starch - thickening agent
58. yellow corn flour
60. iodized salt - table salt
62. rice flour
64. corn starch - thickening agent
65. baking soda
66. sodium aluminum phosphate - chemical
67. sodium acid pyrphosphate - preservative and leavening agent
69. caramel color - not food
70. sodium caseinate - form of casein, that controversial dairy protein
71. extractives of paprika
72. soybean oil
73. modified cellulose - the structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, well
THAT sounds good, but wait - it's also the major constituent of paper,
paperboard, card stock and textiles made from cotton and linen...and
it's in your food.
74. oat fiber
75. partially hydrogenated soybean oil - this is not good...anything hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated is incredibly bad for you. This is when the oil becomes solid at room temperature and never goes bad...you want to eat that?
76. mono- and diglycerides - chemical, emulsifier, not food
Pretty incredible. And this is marketed so that kids will want to eat it. And we wonder why more and more kids are becoming more and more unhealthy!
To me, it's really not fair. Some moms and dads out there don't have the time or energy to research all this stuff. They probably trust that if the box says it's good, then it's good. When in fact, this Kids Cuisine is basically poison.