Are We Setting Our Kids Up For An Autoimmune Disease?


As a kid, my lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with maybe chips and a snack cake.  My mom would throw in some strawberries or grapes as well. (Not very nutritious, right?)  I’m very sad to say that as an adult, my lunch did not change all that much.  

I became a teacher when I left college.  You may know that teachers do not get a long lunch.  Our lunch time is 30 minutes, minus the time that we have to drop off our students at the cafeteria or wait for our partner to relieve us for duty.  If you have to heat something up, your time dwindles more and heaven help us if a parent catches us and wants an impromptu conference!

So, a sandwich is really easy.  There is no time to go out for lunch for sure.  I graduated from peanut butter and jelly to ham or turkey.  I would even put lettuce on it if I had it in the fridge!  I always added fruit, but sadly, this meal is lacking in any real nutrients.


As a teacher, I see so many lunches that do not have any nutrients at all.  It is so common today to see kids with lunch from a box, such as Lunchables.  The Chicken Dunks meal is a popular choice.  The website says that they are an excellent source of protein and made with only white meat.  Here’s the list of ingredients.  

INGREDIENTS: Ingredients: Fruit Punch Flavored Drink Blend from Concentrate with Other Natural Flavor – Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Apple and Grape Juice Concentrates, Citric Acid, Water Extracted Orange and Pineapple Juice Concentrates, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E Acetate. Breaded Nugget-Shaped Chicken Patties – (Nugget-Shaped Chicken Patties – White Chicken, Water, Potassium Lactate, Modified Corn Starch, contains less than 2% of Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphates, Carrageenan, Sodium Diacetate, Lemon Juice Solids, Flavor. Breading – Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Modified Food Starch, Egg Whites, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Whey [from Milk], Spices, Salt, Paprika, Onion Powder, Natural Flavor. Batter – Water, Bleached Wheat Flour, Modified Food Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Dextrose, Spices, Garlic Powder, Extractives of Paprika, Monosodium Glutamate, Caramel Color. Seasoning – Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Egg Whites, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Spices, Natural Flavor. Browned in Soybean Oil.) Ketchup with Starch added – Water, Tomato Paste, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Sucrose, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Modified Food Starch, Soybean Oil, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Dextrose, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Spice, Natural Flavor. Artificially Flavored Blue Raspberry Candy – Sugar, Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Modified Food Starch (Corn), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, contains less than 2% of: Water, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavors, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Artificial Colors.

Let’s just break down a few of these many overwhelming ingredients:

Potassium Chloride-(Chloride just sounds bad, doesn’t it?) It is used as a thickener or stabilizer, however, if you have kidney disease or Addison’s disease, you will want to limit this  add-in.(And maybe if you want to keep your health too!)

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil– Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods(GMO’s).  Hydrogenated means this oil is a trans-fat.  I know you have seen all of the restaurants and food companies banning this ingredient!  Studies have linked this ingredient to cancer, diabetes, immune dysfunction and reproductive problems according to this site.

Modified Food Starch– (What the heck is food starch?) This ingredient is used for increasing the shelf life of processed foods.  It can be used for other things as well, such as making a hard shell on jelly beans.  Modified Food Starch can be made from corn, rice, wheat, tapioca, or potato.  Here are some ways it is modified:

  • Treating it with acid
  • Roasting it
  • Treating it with sodium hydroxide
  • Treating it with potassium hydroxide
  • Adding a positive electrical charge
  • Treating it with emulsifiers
  • Treating it with starch ether

We could go on and on.  Just look at that list!  Hmm…. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put any of that stuff in my child!

Autoimmune diseases are turned on in three ways:

1. Genetics
2.  Environmental factors such as toxins and viruses, like the Epstein-Barr Virus
3. Leaky Gut (or intestinal permeability)

You can read more about that here at

It is best to avoid processed foods with all of the unpronounceable ingredients.  Stick to whole foods most of the time, like organic fruits and vegetables that don’t come with an ingredient list and aren’t treated with pesticides. 

When my daughter asks for one of those boxed lunches, I make her one from home.  I use a container like this one from Amazon.

Easy Lunchboxes 3 Compartment Bento Box

I put a few kinds of fruit, celery sticks(her favorite vegetable), nuts, pumpkin seeds, and maybe dark chocolate chips and whatever other healthy foods we have on hand.  There’s something about the compartments that make it fun!  Try it with your kids, big or small.  It’s fun for adults too!


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