Every parent worries about their children’s health. But, there are lots of preventative measures a parent can take to alleviate at least some of those worries. One of the biggest ways to prevent illness and other childhood dangers is to make sure your child is eating right.
This is not always as easy as it sounds, however. Especially since there is so much information out there about what adults and children should and should not eat — many of the sources even contradicting each other. So, in an effort to clear the air, here are at least three things that every parent should know are NOT necessarily true. Armed with this knowledge parents can take control of their child’s health and take a well-deserved break from some of those parental worries.
It is bad for children to feel hungry so they should eat multiple times between meals.
This is not true. Just like with adults, it is important to be careful to avoid overeating. A child who is given too much food could be more prone to lean on food as a routine and start to show habits of a binge eater, reaching for food even when they are not hungry just because they are used to doing it. This is obviously not a healthy habit and can lead to obesity and negatively impact the nutritional intake for the child as they might not be hungry or interested in eating at regular meal times. Most children should be fed three nutritious meals a day and have two healthy snacks a day.
Children should drink at least 2 cups of milk every day in order to receive the necessary amount of calcium.
Milk is not the only food/drink out there that contains calcium. In fact, there are other foods that have just as much, if not more, calcium per serving. For example, almonds and sardines, two foods you might not expect to have calcium, are packed with the valuable nutrient. There are also many foods and drinks that are fortified with extra calcium specifically. Orange juice and cereal both come to mind as being frequently fortified in this way. It will say it right on the label so if you see two versions of a food your children like, one fortified and one not, choose the fortified version next time. In conclusion, a concerned parent should not just be thinking about drinking milk to get calcium but rather should think about getting the recommended daily value of calcium for their child through a variety of foods.
Taking in less fat will lower the risk of your child gaining extra weight.
It is important here to make clear that there are good fats and bad fats. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are the good kind, as they work to, believe it or not, reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Saturated fats and trans fats are bad fats because they do the opposite, making you more susceptible to heart disease by increasing your cholesterol levels. So, it’s as simple as reading the packaging of the foods you buy and staying away from those that have the bad kinds and choosing the kinds that are good! Avoiding fat totally will be very unhealthy for a child (or an adult) as humans need fats to live and grow.
As you can see, there are a lot of tall tales out there about foods one should feed their children, but if you stick to these tips and are conscious of the foods your children are eating, you can sleep easy at night knowing you are preventing future health problems in your little ones.