As parents, your goal when it comes to your child’s diet is to not only make sure they are eating well but also teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle as they grow up.
What we eat plays a very large role in our overall health but for children, they also have their own unique set of nutritional needs, so it is important that as a parent/carer you are not fooled by food myths.
Growing up you were told things like ‘carrots make you see in the dark’ or ‘orange juice will help you get over a cold’. These myths we pass on to children to maybe encourage them to eat/drink healthier however there are other myths about healthy eating and nutrition that may have once been a fact that are no longer true.
Myth 1. Fresh fruit and vegetables are better than frozen
Fresh fruit and veg are at their nutritional best when they are in season and ripe. Frozen fruit and veg are packed at their peak ripeness which makes them a good choice too. The best thing to do is buy fresh where possible but frozen are just as good and last longer. You could also buy fresh fruit and veg and freeze them yourself at home.
Myth 2. Cereal is great for breakfast
Most cereals are infused with preservatives and sprinkled with sugar. To give your children’s body healthy fats, protein, and fibre to keep them full, nutrition experts suggest having plain yogurt with nuts and berries as an alternative option to ultra-processed cereals.
Myth 3. Eggs have too much cholesterol content, AVOID!
In a 2018 study, researchers found that eggs don’t actually contribute to high cholesterol which contradicts why they have a bad reputation. Eggs are a source of many nutrients (including zinc, iron, and vitamin D) and are in-expensive which is a great option to use in meals if you have a large family to feed. However, research on eggs has gone back and forth over the years so it is recommended to not overdo it.
Myth 4. Any baby weight will have gone by their teen years
The myth that children need all the calories they can get is a factor of why childhood obesity has become such an issue. Children need plenty of nutrients whilst they are going through changes in their bodies, but they need to get them from the right sources. To maintain a healthy weight, children should avoid eating processed foods and junk food and eat healthy meals. Here are some examples of healthy meals designed for children – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-kids
Myth 5. My child is a picky eater, but they’ll grow out of it
You shouldn’t wait for your child to grow out of bad eating habits because some may stick around. As a parent, there are tricks (other than hiding the veg) to help your children and firstly that is by leading by example.
Children will pick up habits from parents so it’s important that they see you eating a balanced and healthy diet. Mixing in foods they already like with foods they need to be eating more can help them try new things. Preparing and cooking food together can get them excited about what they are having for dinner. They may feel a sense of ownership and it can also help when it comes to trying new foods.
These are just some of the many myths that surround children’s nutrition and healthy diet information. There is a lot to keep up with as children are growing and therefore their needs vary from each stage of their childhood which can be difficult especially if you have more than one child.
For more information and guidelines follow the links below: