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First things first. We are constantly getting told what we should and shouldn’t eat. What’s good for us and what isn’t. How much we should eat of what, and why we should and shouldn’t eat these……
Sound confusing? Well yes – when the newspaper is telling us on a Monday to eat eggs every day, yet by Tuesday we are being told to eat them once a week, things can get slightly perplexing. So, let’s get back to basic facts and keep things as simple as they are intended to be (p.s. It will do us NO harm to eat eggs every day!)
MYTH 1 : FRESH FRUIT AND VEG IS BETTER THAN FROZEN
When fruit and vegetables are freshly picked they are at their best nutritionally, so this may suggest you should always be opting for the fresh stuff. Surprisingly, they DO NOT lose their nutritional value by being frozen, so if you can’t find those fresh berries you’ve been searching for in the fruit aisle for the past week – by all means, head straight to the freezer and load your basket up. Your children will still enjoy them just as much, and frozen fruit is great for making nice cold smoothies they won’t be able to get enough of!
MYTH 2 : IF MY CHILDREN DOESN’T ADD SALT TO FOOD THEY ARE FINE
Wrong. A high percentage of salt is found in processed foods. Ready meals, processed meats and even things like bread can be notorious for this, so make sure you are checking the labels for the best option. Traffic light labelling in the UK helps massively with this as the colour coding makes it easy to recognise if the product is high in salt or not at a glance.
MYTH 3 : ALL FATS ARE BAD
Time after time we are told to avoid fats, but fats are a vital part of our diet. Yes, we don’t want to be feeding our children on pizza, fried chips and takeaways every night as these are going to contain lots of saturated fats that are associated with increased risk of disease. However, unsaturated fats found in foods such as oily fish, avocado and nuts are essential in the diet to help the brain and nervous system function.
MYTH 4 : MY CHILDREN ARE ACTIVE, SO THEY CAN EAT WHAT THEY CHOOSE
Your child may be taking part in 5 different sports a week, going to the park at the weekend and running about in the playground at school – looking totally healthy from the outside. But this isn’t an excuse to eat all the junk food they want! We have to think about the internal damage this can cause, which can lead to high cholesterol, blood pressure and increased risk of diseases. Yes, they will need to eat more food than less active children, but be sure to be feeding them with all the good stuff to fuel them with lots of energy for all of their activities. Nuts, granola, bananas and fruit bars all make great snacks for kids on the go and stops them reaching for a chocolate bar!