When it comes to children’s nutrition, parents face an abundance of information about what’s healthy and what’s not for their kids—and not all of is true. How’s a parent to decipher fact from fiction? We’re here to debunk some of the most common myths about nutrition for your child.
The alternatives to potato chips are healthier
Veggie fries and veggie chips have vegetables in them, so they must be better for you, right? Not necessarily. Don’t be fooled if the word “vegetable” appears in the product’s name. The key is to look at the ingredient list. If vegetables (potatoes excluded) are one of the first 3 ingredients, it’s likely a healthier product. Some of our favorites? SnapPea Crisp Lightly Salted or Karen’s Naturals Just Veggies. Your best bet though is to stick with fresh fruits and veggies at snack time.
Multigrain is better
In recent years, it seems like everyone jumped on the multigrain bandwagon. But just because a product boasts multigrain, which simply means multiple types of grains, doesn’t mean it contains whole grains. The term “whole grain” means 100% of the original kernel is preserved: germ, bran and endosperm. These essential parts of the grain contain protein, fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals.
The key is to look at the ingredient list. If you see “whole grains,” you should be good to go. Good options include Boom Chicka Pop, Original Puffins cereal or bread with 100% whole wheat listed as the first ingredient.
Eggs are bad for your kids
Eggs are naturally high in cholesterol and fat, and anything in excess isn’t a healthy choice. But, contrary to the popular nutrition myth, the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t lead to an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Eggs are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and they’re a powerful source of protein for breakfast or a snack. Like any other food, moderation is key: Eggs don’t need to be part of your family’s daily diet but can be incorporated eggs into meals (not just breakfast!) on a regular basis, in addition to other important proteins.
Low-glycemic foods are better for your kids’ health
The glycemic index measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises our blood glucose. High-glycemic foods raise our blood sugar quickly because they’re easier for your body to convert into glucose, which then gets converted into energy. Low-glycemic foods affect our blood glucose level more slowly. Many product labels now advertise the phrase “low-glycemic,” giving the false impression that these foods might result in weight loss. Some high-glycemic foods — sweet potatoes, papaya, cantaloupe and beets—are packed with nutrition. The lesson? Include a variety of foods in your child’s diet, not only those that are low-glycemic.
Fresh fruits and veggies are better than frozen
When fresh fruits and vegetables are in-season and ripe, they’re at their nutritional peak. Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually packed at their peak ripeness, making them a good choice, too. As a rule of thumb, buy fresh when possible, and if not, head to the frozen aisle. Organic frozen produce shouldn’t contain any additives or preservatives, meaning they contain just the fruits and veggies. Another idea if you’re hoping to support your local farm is to buy in bulk during peak season, then slice and freeze the produce on your own.
When it comes to feeding your kid, it’s important to demystify nutrition claims and myths with expert information. Breaking down the branding and trends can help you confidently feed your kid wholesome food. All it takes are a few expert tips and reading the ingredients list.