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As a parent, it’s your responsibility to provide your kid with a balanced diet to maintain their health. However, it’s difficult to ensure that they get all the vitamins and nutrients for growing healthy and fit because of their distinct tastes as well as likes and dislikes. Plus, several marketing gimmicks and hearsays of other people further adds to your difficulty in determining what is good and bad for your child’s proper nutrition.
Well, worry not!
We at Sai Snehdeep Hospital are personally writing this post to help debunk some myths about child nutrition and diet. After speaking to many parents, we realized that they easily believe in misperceptions and feed an unhealthy diet to their child just because someone, who doesn’t have enough knowledge, in their social circles told them to do so. We advise all our lovely parents to stay clear of all those myths and start fresh right from here.
In this post, we have busted some common myths and stated the facts related to your child’s nutrition and diet.
Taking care of a child requires patience and knowledge. Here, we have stated 11 myths and facts about child nutrition and diet. Reading this post will surely improve your knowledge and you’ll be able to better feed your child a healthy diet and convey the same to your fellow parent-friends.
Let’s get started.
Fact: Not exactly. Yes, we agree that milk is an important source of calcium, helping in strengthening your child’s bones and teeth. However, you don’t have to give them every day. If your child is simply allergic or straight-forward refuses to drink milk, try giving them other milk-based products such as yoghurt and cheese. You can even go for fortified soy milk or leafy green vegetables to fulfil their daily nutritional requirements.
We understand that feeding your child in the right way may seem like an impossible task, but ensure that you do not force-feed them. Many parents think that milk should be compulsorily fed to their child for strong bone growth, but calcium and nutritional needs can be achieved through other sources as well if their child refuses to drink milk.
Fact: This is again a myth – many parents believe that their child will starve or something will happen to them if their kids don’t eat or skip a meal. It’s not true. If your child occasionally skips a meal, it will not make much of a difference. Kids are not that hungry in the morning. If they occasionally skip their breakfast or a meal, they will feel hungry a little later in the day. And, that will be the optimum time to feed them a balanced diet.
If you feel concerned over meal skipping, ask your kids to list down some nutritious food options. You can also keep some healthy food items in the fridge so that it can be prepared quickly for them to eat.
Fact: A big no! Many moms lure their kids into eating veggies by offering dessert or chocolates afterward. This habit only makes vegetables much less attractive to your child. It may even work for a short amount of time, but it will not work for long and you’ll end up giving them junk food often.
You should keep offering vegetables to your child and ensure you see eating them. However, don’t pressurize them too much. One effective way to make sure they eat veggies is to involve them in activities such as cutting and preparing vegetables, or even make them select the specific vegetables so that they get interested in food. You can also try serving vegetables like Brussels sprouts that taste bitter with a layer of cream cheese or any flavour they like.
Fact: This is again a myth and not good for your child. Many parents are guilty of not giving the food or vegetables to their kids if they had refused or don’t like eating it. We truly understand that you want your kids to eat what they like, but this habit may deprive them of essential nutrients they need for their growth.
We understand that children experience new things, including new tastes and flavours, every day related to the food they eat. But not giving them certain food just because they refuse to eat – is surely not good for your child. The best way to make them eat healthy food is to experiment with your cooking style till your kids develop a taste for it.
Fact: This is a myth that does more harm than good. Please remember that not all the foods that are low in fat have low calories. Companies that claim some food to be fat-free usually misses out on flavour and replaces ingredients with sugar, sodium, etc. that adds to high calories. Therefore, we recommend checking the ingredients on the food label before considering low-fat options for your children.
Keep in mind that there are good fats and bad fats – which are different from each other. Good fats or saturated fats that are found in meat and dairy products should be sparingly consumed. However, bad fat or trans fat such as butter, margarine, beef or pork fat, etc. should be avoided and is not good for you as well as your child.
Fact: Not necessarily true! Many parents purchase canned fruit juices from the supermarket and give them to their children daily. We advise you to stop giving them fruit juices and it can put your kid’s health at risk. Even though many juices come with no added sugar these days, your kid needs a variety of nutrients which get lost while preparing these juices.
Instead, you should ensure that your child eats whole fruits to get all the nutrients, minerals and fibre. A whole fruit is undoubtedly better than a juice. Even if you’re keen to give fruit juice to your kid, you should opt for fresh fruit squeezed homemade ones. However, we recommend you to encourage your toddlers to eat the whole fruit – it’s good for their growth.
Fact: This is again a common myth that most parents believe in – preventing children from getting essential nutrients from natural as well as homemade foods. Multivitamins aim to provide only some vitamins and nutrients that promote good health. It enhances the natural food intake of children and adults, but you just cannot substitute multivitamins with the food.
There are other essential vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables, fruits, protein, complex carbohydrates, etc. Multivitamin tablets only have certain vitamins and minerals that might be missing in their everyday meals. That is why multivitamins supplements the balanced diet – not substitute your kid’s everyday meals.
Fact: Not true! Multigrain sounds like a perfect option for ensuring your child’s good health. Just because a product raves about multigrain, which in simple terms means multiple types of grains, doesn’t mean it contains whole grains. There is a difference between multigrain and whole grain. Whole grain simply means 100% whole grain preserved kernels packed with extra vitamins, proteins and fibres.
Many food companies use different refined grains in the process to create multi-grain items by filtering out some essential nutrients in the process. Therefore, we recommend you to look at the list of ingredients when purchasing foods such as cereals or breads. Make sure to look for 100% whole wheat listed as the key ingredient in such foods.
Fact: This is not right. You should educate your kids about healthy nutrition. Try to set an example of what to eat in a balanced diet to them. There are many studies proving that children develop healthy eating habits from their parents. Therefore, it’s important to teach your kids about nutrition at home.
Teach them about the portions of the meal and what is healthy as well as not healthy. Involve your kids when you are preparing meals in order to understand the effort it takes and possibly develop their interests in the food. Never afraid to experiment with food preparation techniques to give them different tastes while still making them consume healthy foods.
Fact: Not true! Many parents consider including non-vegetarian foods in their child’s diet because a vegetarian diet cannot ensure proper growth, in their opinions – which is absolutely false. We recommend all vegetarian families to include milk and cottage cheese as their child’s diet that ensures right growth and development.
For people who are strict vegetarians or vegans, they need to carefully plan their meals to make sure their kids get proper macronutrients (such as protein, carbohydrates and fats) as well as micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals). A vegetarian diet surely ensures your kid’s proper growth – just make sure to choose the right ingredients.
Fact: This is again a myth. Fruits are sweet and kids can easily gulp them – that’s why parents consider giving their children fruits to compensate for the vegetables – which is not right.
Fruits and vegetables are not nutritionally equal. Both of them offer similar types of nutrients and minerals, but they contain different nutrients and phytochemicals. For instance, many fruits and vegetables have a good amount of vitamin C that helps in regulating blood pressure and keeping a healthy immune system. However, leafy green vegetables contain certain carotenoids, which are good for a healthy brain and keeps you at lower risk of getting cataract. There are anticancer phytochemicals such as glucosinolates that are found in cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.
You cannot substitute fruits for vegetables and vice versa. Therefore, we advise you to eat a mix of fruits and vegetables to consume a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Parents often take wrong ideas by believing in the words of other people or various marketing gimmicks about food and nutrition when it comes to their kids. It’s important that you should do your research to straighten out all the myths and facts about child nutrition.
We, at Sai Snehdeep Hospital, understand that it is not easy to take care of toddlers when they are at such an age with their continually changing taste and behaviour. That’s why we always recommend you to consult an expert for the dietary requirement whenever possible. We have expert paediatricians and nutritionists who can better advise you on how to teach healthy eating habits to your kids, eventually leading to following a healthy lifestyle.
In the end, a kid’s health is a top priority for their parents. There are no shortcuts, but only knowledge and patience to ensure their health and growth. Staying from these myths will only help you to better take care of your kids. Ensuring that your kids get a balanced diet which will help support their overall growth and keep them healthy and happy. If you have any questions or want to consult about your kid’s health with our experts, feel free to reach us at:
Sai Snehdeep Hospital
Plot – 12, 13, Sector 20,
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400709
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