5 Common Misconceptions That Indian Parents Have About Child Nutrition

It is not necessary that a child should drink a glass of milk everyday, says Nutritionist. Read more such information in the article.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Jun 11, 2022Updated at: Jun 17, 2022
5 Common Misconceptions That Indian Parents Have About Child Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential for growing kids. But misconceptions about what to and what not to feed the child  makes it hard for parents to provide their children with a healthy diet. With time, we must adapt to nutritional upgrades and child-specific nutrition. What works for other kids might not work for child and vice-versa.

We reached out to Dr. Rohini Patil, a Nutritionist, Founder and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle to understand five such common misconceptions that need to be debunked.

Myth 1: Kids need to have a glass of milk every day

Truth: Most parents insist on their children drinking milk every day in order to strengthen their bones and teeth. While milk is a good source of calcium, it is not the be-all and end-all of bone health nutrition. Some children simply dislike drinking milk, and forcing them to do so can backfire.

  • Experiment with other dairy products such as cheese, buttermilk, or yoghurt.
  • If your child is lactose intolerant, try other calcium-rich foods such as fish, soy products, almonds, okra, amaranth, and dark green vegetables.
  • Please avoid adding sugar or sugary 'health drinks' or chocolate powders to mask the taste of milk – these are more harmful than beneficial.
 
Misconceptions about child nutrition

Myth 2: Kids will starve if they skip a meal

Truth: When their child skips a meal, Indian parents lose heart, thinking the child might not get enough nutrition for the day. Parents' concern over their children's growth and nutrition is understandable, although skipping one meal will not have a significant long-term impact. You must first identify why the child is skipping a mea. There are numerous reasons like—perhaps they had a large snack or are simply too preoccupied with their play. During certain seasons, such as summer, children often eat less.

  • Most children will make up for missed meals at other times, so don't be too concerned.
  • Children's nutrition tends to balance out throughout the day, so don't worry if they don't have a perfectly balanced meal every time.

Myth 3: Kids need to eat an egg every single day to meet their protein requirements

Truth: As parents and caregivers, we want to make sure that our children are getting proper nutrition. The best way to do that is by making sure they eat a balanced diet. While eggs may seem like the perfect source of protein for kids, there are plenty of other options out there like Soy, lean meat, milk, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, and oil seeds are just a few protein-rich sources you can include in your kids' diet. So, it is not necessary to eat eggs for protein but you must add some kind of protein in every meal of your child to fulfil the daily requirement.

Also Read: Benefits Of Eating Eggs In Breakfast

Misconceptions about child nutrition

Myth 4: Fruit juice is the healthiest way to give your child vitamins.

Truth: Most advertisements will lead you to believe that fruit juice is nutritionally equivalent to, if not superior to, fruits, but this is not the case. Most fruit juices contain sugar and colours to make them more appealing to children. Even if there is no added sugar in the juice, the amount of natural sugar in a glass of juice is much higher than that in the actual fruit.

Furthermore, fruit juices lack the important pulp and fibre from the fruit and are not as filling. As a result, children may consume large amounts of juice without realising it and still feel hungry shortly afterwards. Fruit juice should be considered an occasional treat rather than a replacement.

Myth 5: Kids need to be bribed to eat healthy.

Truth: "Pehle vegetables khao, phir chocolate milegi’ is a similar phrase we see being used when kids dislike vegetables. However, this common practise only makes the vegetables attractive for a short while. Not to mention, in the long term, kids might assume that every time they eat vegetables, a piece of chocolate as a reward should follow too. Instead, keep offering kids vegetables in different forms or recipes. Involving them in cutting the vegetables into different shapes is another way to generate interest in them for the colourful vegetables. Try serving bitter vegetables like karela along with sweet and tangy gravy or as a side dish.

Expert Tip: Avoid Compulsive Eating

As per Dr. Susanta Kumar Badatya, Consultant Neonatology & Pediatrics at Apollo Cradle & Children's Hospital - Moti Nagar, New Delhi, In most cases we have noticed that parents force their child to finish the meal they have served for them. Compulsive eating can overwhelm the child, making them avoid the food they usually eat. Let your child feel the texture of the food and adjust its taste buds accordingly. Don't try to force your child into finishing a full portion of the meal. Trust your child to ask for food as even babies know when they are hungry and when they are full. This is true in the case of infants too. Parents, most often associate crying with hunger which might be the case every time. Everytime a baby cries, parents tend to feed them. However they should also understand that there are other possible reasons as well for a baby to cry. These are a few practices that parents often tend to follow but these might not be the right decision they take for the kids at that moment.

Conclusion

These are just some of the very common misconceptions that parents may have. As explained by the nutritionist, you must learn ways to make your child eat healthy but don’t force them. Instead find out the reason why your child is refusing something. It could be due to allergy or intolerance too.

Image credits- freepik

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