Nutrition & Diet

Popular kids nutrition myths debunked

Written by Kejal Shah
Published: April 3, 2023
A sports nutrition expert & weight management specialist, Kejal Shah has years of experience in the industry. She is also the ambassador for Fit India.

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Every parent has a responsibility to make sure their children take a balanced diet in order to maintain their health. However, with an overload of information available, it is sometimes overwhelming for parents to decide what’s best suited for their diet. Well, the good thing is that Science has debunked several myths related to healthy nutrition that tend to get thrown around in the form of facts. It also includes several fad diets, child nutrition, myths and facts about food. So, here is a breakdown of a few nutrition myths and facts that needs instant attention.

1. Myth: What should I do if my child’s portion size is smaller?

Fact: Each child has a unique appetite, which evolves with age. Your child is eating enough if they have the proper height and weight for their age. Only if your child’s growth is erratic should you be concerned about how much your child eats. Just be sure that they’re eating a balanced diet and maintaining calm throughout mealtimes.

2. Myth: Special, appealing kid-friendly foods are required for children.

Fact: Children can mimic practically any eating behaviour from their parents. Some parents believe that young children will only consume tasty things that are sweet, salty, and fast or junk food. This is not the case, you should feed your child the same meals that you do.

3. Myth: Brown bread has more health benefits than white bread.

Fact: Some of the brown varieties have caramel or treacle added to them to make them darker and give the appearance of being more nutritious. 

4. Myth: Fruit juice is a healthy drink for children.

Fact: As fruits are nutritious, many parents think that fruit juices are beneficial for their kids. However, even though fruit juices are vitamin-rich, you should give your child fresh fruits instead. 

Fresh fruits contain fibre that is lost during the juicing process and also have more nutritional value. Juice’s excess calories also fill kids up, making them less inclined to eat fiber, protein, and healthy fat-rich solid foods.

5. Myth: Milk is the only source of calcium for kids.

Fact: There are many plant-based sources of calcium. In fact, when consumed in adequate amounts, plant foods can provide the same or even more calcium than a glass of milk. Some examples of calcium-rich sources are ragi, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, tofu, etc.

6. Myth: “Diet,” “Gluten Free,” and “Organic” foods are always the healthiest options.

Fact: Food fads and misleading product labels may cause you to believe that the food is healthy. It’s crucial to consider meals as a whole when determining what to feed growing children. Consider factors like calories, sodium, artificial sweeteners, and nutritional value. Each of these factors influences whether a food item is healthy or not.

7. Myth: Low-fat foods have fewer calories for children

Fact: Never forget that not all foods low in fat are also low in calories. Low-fat foods frequently substitute other ingredients, such as sugar, sodium, or others that can increase calorie content, for the fat. Before deciding that the low-fat option is best for your child, always read the food label.

8. Myth: To help your child lose weight, you must drastically reduce their calorie intake.

Fact: If your youngster consumes only 700 calories per day or less, weight loss will occur, but it won’t last for very long. Many find it psychologically nearly impossible to follow a rigorous diet for an extended period of time because they feel deprived and hungry. Encourage your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet as a result, to prevent depriving him or her of the nutrients necessary for growth and development. And also, they may not suffer from multiple deficiencies.

9. Myth: Food, once rejected,  by a child should not be served again

Fact: Kids can be fussy about certain food groups, and not every child enjoys eating vegetables. Children tend to experience food differently as they see, feel and experience food before settling down on what they like and what they don’t. Keep serving and experimenting with the cooking style, and they’ll come to adjust to it eventually.

10. Myth: Children need snacks constantly.                     

Fact: Some snacking in between meals is beneficial but kids should not engage in all-day-long eating. Also, snacks should not be packed foods. Instead, give them healthy options such as yoghurt, nuts, vegetable sticks, fresh fruits, etc.

11. Myth: Gummy vitamins are good for children.

Fact: Gummies are not the healthier choice for vitamins and minerals as they contain a lot of sugar, preservatives, food colour, and artificial sweetener. They also contain less nutritional content than other normal vitamins supplement.

There are several myths related to healthy nutrition which cause public confusion, distrust of medical practitioners, and bad dietary decisions. It is therefore understandable why the majority of people have distorted myths and facts about food.

So here are these nutrition myths and facts so that you can feel more empowered to create a nourishing and sustainable eating pattern that meets your particular needs by educating yourself and separating reality from fiction in this area.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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