Feeding kids can be a tricky business, particularly with so much misinformation and so many mistruths flying around about what is good, bad, right and wrong when it comes to providing nutrition.
With so much information, parents often feel overwhelmed, and many of them have fallen for some totally false food myths about kids, like these right here.
1. Veggies Need To Be Hidden
When you have a picky eater, it’s easy to fall back on the idea of ‘hiding’ vegetables in your child’s food. While this does provide them with extra nutrition, it fails to educate them about the benefits of eating vegetables, something that will be detrimental when they head out into the world on their own. Getting your child to like certain foods is difficult, with some children simply refusing to eat. But if you dedicate yourself to working with them, showing them that vegetables can taste good in various dishes, and not folding to cooking them their own meal, you’ll get there in the end.
2. Soy Is Bad
For some reason in recent years, soy products have copped a hell of a beating in the public eye, particularly in terms of whether they should be given to children. Foods like tofu, soy milk, edamame and other soy-based foods are actually totally ok for kids, in moderation, and in the case of girls, they might actually reduce their breast cancer risk. For those parents worried about the potential GMOs in soy, you can always opt for the organic version.
3. Kids Should Have Fruit Juice
We aren’t really sure when the idea of kids ‘needing’ fruit juice in their diet came about. While fruit juice is a convenient way to get fruit into a child’s diet, the lack of fibre present in the juice means it’s not really that healthy, and in fact, might be quite unhealthy. Always opt for actual whole fruit whenever possible, reserving juices for treats.
4. Only Bland Food For Babies
The reasoning behind the ‘bland food only for babies’ idea is that a child’s digestion is sensitive and needs to be carefully monitored. While you shouldn’t be shovelling vindaloo into your child’s mouth, getting them used to a variety of flavours early is key. When babies are young they’re more open to new taste, and exposing them to bolder flavours can help ward off fussy eating later in life. If you’re breastfeeding, eat lots of different foods and expose them to the flavours that way.
5. Only The Outer Aisles Are Good
We bet you’ve heard this one before: when shopping at the supermarket, only shop around the perimeter of the aisles. Well, it’s totally wrong! While a lot of the good stuff, like the fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and discounted items are on the perimeter of the store and the outer aisles, there’s also a lot of good food in the middle. We’re talking about frozen veggies, canned beans, low-salt canned veggies and much more! Don’t fall for this one, or your shopping will be seriously lacking!
6. Kids Need Snacks
Admittedly, as a group, many people in developed countries have become serial snackers, so it’s not surprising that people feel that kids should be too. It’s true, kids use a lot of energy (or they should be) so they might need the occasional snack between meals on a busy day. But they definitely don’t need snacks between every single meal, and forcing snacks on them causes bad habits later in life. Kids should be hungry when mealtime tolls around, because it’s teaching them to listen to their body’s own needs. If you’re trying to break a snacking cycle, offer fruit and veg instead, that will prove if they’re hungry or not.
7. Kids Should Clear The Plate
As kids, we’ve all heard this one. Clearing your plate was a sign of respect to the cook, and if you didn’t, you were really just showing how little you cared. After all, children on the other side of the world were starving for what was on your plate.
However in truth, forcing kids to finish what is on their plate only reinforces bad food behaviours, leading to weight gain and bad habits. A much better option is providing healthy foods, and giving your child a chance to choose what they want from these.
Have you fallen for any of these?