As your children begin to eat solid foods, you need to carefully monitor what they consume. This is important for several reasons. One is because they haven’t yet mastered the art of chewing, so you need to watch out for foods that could potentially be choking hazards. Another reason is nutrition. There are a lot of foods that toddlers can eat, but should they?

Check out these top five foods that you should keep your toddler away from if you want to ensure that they have a properly nutritious and healthy diet, which is extremely important as their bodies grow and develop.

1. Unnaturally Colored Foods
Food dye has been on many dietitian and nutritionists radar for some time. For one thing, artificial coloring and food dyes have absolutely no nutritional value at all and they may even cause some dietary problems, especially in young children. Though research has concluded that certain dyes don’t cause hyperactivity in most children, they have found that some cause hyperactivity in children with ADHD. My cousin has pretty severe ADHD and I remember that we were under strict orders never to give him red licorice or jolly ranchers when we were kids. It made him go absolutely crazy and it still does to this day.

2. Soda
I’ve seen some parents give sips of their soda to their babies or even fill their toddlers sippy cups with soda and it appalls me every time. The sheer amount of sugar in soda is unhealthy for an adult let alone a toddler. You may be better off just feeding your child a couple spoonful’s of sugar because that’s basically all it is. A typical 12oz can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar as well as dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and caffeine.

3. Fruit Juice
Store bought fruit juice isn’t much better. It’s actually closer to cool aid since they’re both made up of mostly sugar and dye as well. Your child is better off sticking to flavored waters, plain water, milk, or organic juices with less sugar content. If you are going to give them full strength juice, try mixing it will three parts water to one part juice.

4. Processed Meals
This means frozen dinners and snacks like frozen corn dogs, chicken fingers, fish sticks, and even whole frozen dinners. They might be kid friendly foods that are easy for toddlers to gnaw on, but they’re filled with massive amounts of sodium. The amount of sodium in these foods increases the risk of heart disease exponentially.

5. Processed Lunchmeat
The main lunchmeat that toddlers eat in this category is hot dogs. You’ve probably heard the horror stories about hot dogs growing up, but it’s not the meat that’s dangerous. It’s the nitrate content. Nitrate is a chemical used to preserve meat and prevent the growth of bacteria, but it also increases the risk of colon cancer as well.