Is it true that healthy meals for children have to be 'proper' meals consisting of meat and vegetables? Jasly Koo, Dietitian, from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at KK Women's and Children's Hospital separates common food myths from facts.
Continued from previous page.
What are some of the misconceptions parents have about eating healthily?
Some common misconceptions parents have include:
Misconception: Healthy meals have to be ‘proper’ meals consisting of rice with meat and vegetables, and then they get anxious when their child prefers eating noodles to rice.
Truth: Noodles, pasta, potatoes, chappati and even bread can be consumed instead of rice.
Misconception: Healthy meals have to be cooked without adding any oil.
Truth: In fact, until the age of two, there is no restriction on fat, as fat is a concentrated source of energy, providing calories to fuel the growth and activity needs of young children.
“So long as a healthy oil is used, (i.e. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils e.g. olive, canola, rice bran, sunflower, sesame, peanut, corn) parents can add oil to pan-fry or stir-fry foods rather than boiling everything in a soup,” says Jasly Koo, Dietitian, from the
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a member of the
Misconception: Wholegrain foods like wholemeal bread, oats, brown rice must be given for all meals.
Truth: Whilst wholegrains are important for good health, too much wholegrains can affect a young child’s appetite as wholegrains are high in fibre.
So, if your child has a small appetite, you may wish to give only a quarter to half a serving of rice and alternatives as wholegrains.
Misconception: Fruit juice is as nutritious as fresh fruit.
Truth: For children above 1 year of age, 100% fruit juice can be given as ½ of the fruit recommendations, but it is still best to give fresh fruit as the fibre content is reduced by juicing. Fibre is important for regular bowel movements, and also for satiety and weight control. Excessive juice consumption is also associated with diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention, and tooth decay.
See previous page for a
guide on feeding children between the ages of 1-12 years.
See next page for
3 common feeding problems in children.